Fine, I admit it. I’m all for the underdog; the unknown, undiscovered, forgotten by the wayside and yet, unbelievably talented writer somewhere out there pecking away at his keyboard late into the night. Not only that, but I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest three published books that have some element of personal meaning to me, that I truly believe would make great flicks. Readers, why do you even go to the trouble, some may ask? I mean, since the invention of the television and the miracle of the internet, not to mention video games and iPods, are there any of you bookworms still alive out there? Well, the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Just stop by Goodreads if you need confirmation. Whether a writer or sculptor, painter, musician or filmmaker … they create because they must. They cannot not do it. As with the avid reader ~ he must escape into the pages, the words, the author’s imagination that then brings his own alive.
There is always that debate about books being turned into film. The awful scenario when we see that the story was changed, the characters don’t resemble anything like we’d imagined and, perhaps worst of all, when the ending has been changed. But there are some films that have vastly improved the original manuscript; others that have at least remained faithful, doing justice to the written word, bringing it to life.
This planet is an awfully busy place to live. Time? We have none it seems. Not enough anyway. Hence, the readers of the world are the minority and the movie renters are the majority. I’ve always believed that there was nothing cozier than a cup of tea and a new book to snuggle up with on the couch. Er, I meant to say that there is nothing as relaxing as popping in a good DVD, fixing a bowl of homemade popcorn and settling in. Some of my favorite movies were once books. And, a few of the most inspirational, funny or ‘made me cry my eyes out’ books that I’ve ever read (or written for that matter), have gotten lost in the shuffle. These are the books that also might make for a good movie. Not to push movies here, but okay fine, I’ll tell you why: people are lazy and movies are no work at all. It may take two hours to view a movie verses two days (or more) to read a book. Like I said earlier, this planet is a busy place – time is optimal.
Characters will be suggested for three roles.
So here we go: Three virtually unknown Books that would make great movies (in my humble opinion):
1. The Last To Go, by Rand Richards Cooper
This novel of nearly 10 intertwined stories that surround one theme, shares the story of the bitter and shocking end to a thirty year marriage. The outgoing effects on the family, their social standing and, the harsh realities of divorce itself highlight the break-up of this and other marriages. With razor-edge dialogue, a writing style that is clear and meaningful, not to mention deep, Cooper’s work shows you the characters in your minds eye. Characters that surround you everyday, everywhere ~ make this an ideal choice for the big screen. A poignant tale just waiting for some thoughtful actors to bring us in, make us think, make us angry, possibly provoke old memories and leave us feeling cleansed of the entire ordeal. Or not. Oh, this novel turned screenplay will win an Oscar for some lucky star.
Ellen Slattery: In the midst of throwing away, sorting out, donating thirty years worth of memories. An older Kathleen Turner is the perfect choice. We know the beauty she once was- we see the mature, slightly overweight woman she is today. She is an actress who can show you drama, tears, sarcasm and comedy. She is a strong woman, but can be vulnerable. She would be perfect.
Dan Slattery: We want to hate him. The creep who left is wife and family for another woman, a younger woman. A co-worker. But, we can’t. He’s too handsome and sure of himself. He’s a doctor that cares about medicine, he likes to drive nice cars, and he is indeed intelligent. He always wants more. More things, more time, more life. We see it all the time. The perfect man? It is suspect. A man, who has so much, also needs much more. That is how it starts. To play this character one has to be attractive, tall, and confident. Maybe even a tad aloof. Who then might I suggest? A younger Clint would be good… but for today, for this story – a middle-aged man… Mel Gibson might be perfect. Correction, would be perfect.
Toby: The resident nemesis of the plot, whose entire life has been affected by his parents, their home, their professions and, ultimately, their divorce. Not, finally their divorce, because life among them, the neighbors, the siblings all go on. Except that this one institution has some how ‘tied him up.’ Analytical, self-contained, successful, wander that he is. So, who is to play him? Joaquin Phoenix of course.
Because there are so many other sub-plots, this film would employee about a dozen or so actors. Nice. We need more jobs here.
2. Phliberty-Jibbits by William Moore
A children’s book I was informed, but the humor, wit and message are all there for adults to enjoy also. Let me just say that this novel is hysterically funny! Whilst reading it, I found myself bursting out laughing quite often. Hey, maybe I’m just a funny girl. Not that there aren’t a few (quite a few!) heart-breaking, hair-raising, tear-jerking, knee-slapping scenario’s, cause there are! The buzzword for this flick has got to be optimism. Think James and the Giant Peach or Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ( I prefer the original with Gene Wilder). Both, fantasy flicks that are full of adventure and fun or not-so-much fun- yikes!
Character Suggestions (these are with the approval of the author himself!):
Philibert Phliberty: a “store” owner and savior of sorts to be played by John Cleese. Perfect for a guy named Philibert!
Ima Jean Snodgrass: How strong do you have to be to carry around a name like that?! This youngster is a sixth grader who is experiencing the worst time in her life. She is a matter of fact sort of girl who draws us into her unbelievably bad- luck- life and yet, holds so much light inside of her. A quirky spirit who will surely be captured in the talent of Abigail Breslin. I can see it now!
Professor Hemlock: Ah, who better to carry himself with dignity and regal authority of which-a-ma-jigits then none other than Michael Caine. No one I tell you, no one! Harrumph.
Again, tons of other “characters” to be sure! Bring on the flying pigs!
3. Last, but not least (still my heart as I beat my own drum here for a moment) as I suggest to you the drama, A Bit of Knowledge: by Alison Schiedel Dittmar.
A novel about a confused girl, her controlling mother, an old uncle, a nun, a guy called Mr. Fred, her dad that happens to be a hot dog vendor, a little psychiatric hospital, an abusive wife and other strange things. There is hope and forgiveness in the mix, so for all the tears you shed and the cursing you may do – remember, it’s not all bad! (Just a little bit of knowledge for ya there).
Francine: She’s 17 and well, she’s 17. Do I really need to say more? Let’s say dark, no light, not happy, not sad, and moody? Duh. Smart? Natch. Heck, the girl is all over the place. Hey she’s seventeen; I thought I warned you about that. I’m leaning towards Dakota Fanning.
Arlene: Her mother. Crazy, zany, fierce, not so thin, not too smart… wants to love somebody but has this tremendously tall brick wall blocking her view. A wild woman who is in control or should I say, is controlling? Let me suggest Kathy Bates.
Uncle Gabriel: Gentle soul, senior citizen, pseudo father figure, uncle, brother, keeper of the peace. Who else could play this gruff, yet gentle soul but James Garner?
Additional parts available. Casting calls for all three books will be posted on facebook.
That’s the list, now all we need are a few eager, visionaries with a few bucks ~ otherwise known as “producers.” We can always hope. In the meantime, get yourself over to Amazon and read a few good books.