It seems that many of today’s major motion pictures are based on or adapted from books. From Memoirs of a Geisha and He’s Just Not That Into You, to the more recent The Time Traveler’s Wife, it seems that literature is being turned into cinema left and right. However, there still remain quite a few books that deserve a shot at the silver screen. In my opinion, three books that deserve that chance are Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert, A Bump In The Road by Maureen Lipinski, and A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah.
Committed, written by Elizabeth Gilbert, is the second book by Gilbert that I have read. The first was her immensely popular Eat Pray Love. Coincidentally, Eat Pray Love has been made into a movie and is scheduled for release this August. In the film, the lead roles are played by Julia Roberts (portraying Elizabeth Gilbert) and Javier Bardem (portraying Elizabeth’s lover, Felipe). While Eat Pray Love follows Gilbert’s journey through three countries, which leads to her and Felipe meeting and falling in love, Committed follows the trials and tribulations encountered by Elizabeth and Felipe when Felipe is detained by Homeland Security for not being an American citizen; the only solution is for Elizabeth and Felipe to marry, something they both swore they would never do. While I agree that Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem are both excellent choices for these roles, I feel that there are other actors who could fulfill them as well. For the role of Elizabeth, I would choose the actress Elizabeth Mitchell. Mitchell has been seen on the hit television drama Lost, as well as in the last two The Santa Clause movies (in which she plays Mrs. Claus). I would choose Mitchell, not only for her range of acting abilities, but also because she bears quite a resemblance to Elizabeth Gilbert. For the role of Felipe, I came up with two potential actors. The first was Eric Bana, well known most recently for his role in The Time Traveler’s Wife. I chose him because Felipe is an older, distinguished gentleman, and while Bana would probably need to be “aged” by makeup, he definitely gives off a sophisticated (yet approachable) vibe. The other acor I would possibly choose is Rodrigo Santoro. Santoro is not as well known as Bana, but he did have a brief role on Lost, as well as a part in the film Love Actually. Like Bana, Santoro would need to be “aged” for the role. However, one thing he has over Bana is that he, like Felipe, is from Brazil. As for directing, for all three books I looked up movies that share a similar “feel” to how I think the film versions of the books should be and found who directed them. For Committed, I chose Wes Anderson. My biggest reason is that a lot of traveling occurs in Committed and Anderson’s ability to showcase a country’s beauty (as shown in the film The Darjeeling Limited) would work wonderfully with this film.
The second book I selected is A Bump In The Road by Maureen Lipinski. A Bump In The Road follows married couple Clare and Jake Finnegan as Clare becomes unexpectedly pregnant after a wild trip to Vegas with her husband. Clare, before she must assume the role of “mom”, is an independent, modern career woman (much to the dismay of her mother-in-law). As I read this book, certain characters simply materialized in my head as actors, and for Clare, I pictured Rachel McAdams. McAdams has already shown her dramatic/romantic abilities in movies such as The Notebook, but many forget one of her earlier roles in the hit teen comedy Mean Girls, which clearly shows her ability to play a comedic role as well. Then there is Jake, Clare’s wonderful husband who still slips into frat-boy mode occasionally (such as the night when he goes to tell a neighbor his party is too loud, and ends up drinking with them instead). I knew for this role, the guy needed to be the nice, approachable type, but still give off a little bit of that party vibe. So, I chose Eric Dane, who is best known for his role as Dr. Mark Sloan, a.k.a. Dr. McSteamy, on the hit television series Grey’s Anatomy. Also featured in the book are Clare’s two best friends Reese and Julie. Reese is the more mature of the two, who has settled down and had kids. For this role, someone who comes across as very warm and friendly would work best, so I decided on Claire Danes, mostly considering her role in the holiday film The Family Stone. Julie, on the other hand, is Clare’s drinking buddy and is always up for a good time. She is more youthful and fun-seeking than Reese, so I decided someone bubbly and somewhat feisty, like Scarlett Johansson would work well in the role. For directing, I thought that this film, which is overall a lighthearted look at the progress of pregnancy, would have a great “girl’s day” vibe, similar to that felt in Confessions of a Shopaholic, so I decided that P.J. Hogan, director of Shopaholic, would be a great choice.
Finally, I also chose A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier to be made into a film. This book, by far the most dramatic choice, is the true story of how the author, Ishmael Beah, goes from being a carefree young boy, to a child soldier in Sierra Leone. The story follows Beah from his preteen years up until his late teen years. For the role of Beah, I feel that Malcolm David Kelley would be fantastic. Also known for a role on Lost (he played the boy Walt), Kelley is now a teenager who has already proven himself to be a great dramatic actor. For directing, the film that immediately came to mind when considering fundamental similarities was Hotel Rwanda, which was directed by Terry George. George would be an excellent choice, simply because a film based on this book would need to be directed by someone who could execute the storyline in a beautiful, yet true to life manner.