Tom Hanks, Halle Berry and Susan Sarandon will lead an all-star cast in the film adaptation of David Mitchell's 2004 novel, Cloud Atlas. This era-spanning book, a novel told in six voices that our reviewer described as "complex literary origami" would be as daunting a task for filmmakers as it must have been for the writer. But the producers taking this one on are none other than the Wachowski siblings, who became famous with the Matrix trilogy. If anyone can cover mind-bending time-travel, historical and future settings, and possible reincarnation in one movie, they're the ones to do it. The Wachowskis will be working in tandem with Tom Twyker (Perfume, Run Lola Run, etc), who, rumor has it, will be filming the historical scenes with a separate crew.
an unknown Indian teen, Suraj Sharma, according to Variety. The 17-year-old beat out more than 3,000 other actors to play the role of a young man stuck on a life raft with a tiger in the 3D film, which has a December 2012 release date. Ang Lee is set to direct.
Read more about Life of Pi and Yann Martel's other books on BookPage.com, or listen to our podcast about Beatrice & Virgil, Martel's most recent—and most controversial!—novel.
My pop-culture and literary credentials have taken a beating: my aunt, who lives in Hawaii, had to be the one to tell me that George Clooney was in the state filming an adaptation of one of my fave books of 2007—Kaui Hart Hemmings' The Descendants. (Read our review of The Descendants)
Clooney has been running around Oahu and the North Shore of Kauai this month filming the movie, which follows Matt King, a wealthy and detached father (Clooney) who is forced to become hands-on when his wife is gravely injured in a boating accident. While Joanie lies in a coma, Matt discovers she's been having an affair and takes his daughters on a trip to Kauai in pursuit of the other man.
Alexander Payne (Election, Sideways) is directing the film, and seems like a perfect fit to bring this nuanced novel to the big screen without turning it into a soap opera.
Newcomer Amara Miller and "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" star Shailene Woodley will play Clooney's daughters, Scottie and Alex. The film will be released sometime in 2011. Interested?
I went out to see Fantastic Mr. Fox last night, and I am happy to report that it is, in fact, fantastic. The animation is lively and unusual, and the script is full of grace notes and genuinely funny moments, but what really makes the movie work is the characters, who are voiced with such intelligence, compassion, and deadpan humor that I found myself truly caring about them and whether or not they would survive their adventures.
I loved Roald Dahl as a child, and I couldn't count how many times I read and re-read The Witches, The BFG, and Dahl's autobiography, Boy, among others—but somehow I never read Fantastic Mr. Fox. So I can't comment on how faithfully the movie sticks to the story, but I can say with some certainty that it possesses one of the central qualities of Dahl's work: imagination.
And imagination goes hand-in-hand with the knowledge that the world is essentially a wild place. There's real danger here, as in many of Dahl's books, and the audience senses that, partly because the world of the movie is deceptively big. Though it all takes place in (and under) a very small town and the surrounding countryside, it feels expansive—there are tree homes, sewers, helicopters, broad fields, and a train going by in the distance—and the characters move through it with the ease and exploratory fervor of wild animals. Which, of course, they are, and the movie gets some mileage out of the tension between their wild natures (tearing out the throats of chickens) and their genteel demeanors (Mr. Fox's fondness for making toasts).
If that tension seems more like director Wes Anderson's preoccupation than Dahl's, it's certainly possible; Anderson has built his career on characters (particularly men) who are trying to understand their own natures and find their way in the world, and Fantastic Mr. Fox has plenty of these. But these personal quests never detract from Dahl's story; in many ways, they drive the action and keep us invested in the outcome. (In that way, Fantastic Mr. Fox is similar to my favorite of Anderson's films, Bottle Rocket, which also tells the story of a gang of inexperienced and essentially good-hearted people who band together under a charismatic leader to pull off a series of mild heists, more mischievous than malicious.)
Fantastic Mr. Fox is a thoroughly delightful movie, and one of my favorites from this year. Fans of Roald Dahl or Wes Anderson are in for a treat; fans of both are very, very lucky.