If many of you like myself have found yourself engaged in reading a book, no doubt you have found that book become visibly alive in your mind. From the heady adventures of the Harry Potter series, to the heart and emotion of a young woman’s search for balance in Push, one can become very engrossed in the story. The adventures that the characters live can impact as well as entertain the reader. Sometimes, what can make a story come alive on screen, is also in who stars as well as who directs the film. Does this person LOOK like the character in the book? Where I would have included On the Road in this list, it turns out it will be scheduled for production in 2011 and the casting is not yet complete. However, I would take a chance on Shia Labeouf playing the title role as Jack Kerouac.
Since Hollywood’s inception in the early 20th century, it has dug deep into our libraries treasures to develop a film waiting to be made from a book’s pages. Some have been made masterfully, others had become disastrous calamities. Undaunted by its past, the film art presses for a title that deserves a refreshing kiss. These three books listed below, are truly deserving of this kiss and the attention it could bring. These books were chosen by myself as those that had a profound effect on my personal visualizations when reading them and the peculiarity that I had as to why they had never been made before as a film.
The Vampire Lestat
This is book number two in the Vampire Chronicles series by Anne Rice. The main departure in this book, is that it deals more with the antagonist in Interview With the Vampire, Lestat de Lioncourt. Lestat is given voice to become the protagonist to tell his side of things and how he became. From his noble beginnings in late 18th century France, to his arrival in America and into the late 20th century as a rock star. This is a book filled with dramatic and romantic images that play out into a reader’s mind. From the time of pre-Revolution Paris to the racy streets of San Francisco in the 1980’s, this is an event to behold!
The character Lestat had been played by Tom Cruise in Interview and by Stuart Townsend in Queen of the Damned. To give this role to Townsend again would be consistent, as this immortal had never aged from the time he was turned into a vampire by the immortal, Magnus. However, to keep things fresh, I would recommend the talents of an actual actor/singer. Too bad David Bowie or even Peter Murphy can’t be cast, but if it had to be someone younger to play the blond haired, blue-violet eyed immortal best to give it to Zac Efron of High School Musical fame. He is moving himself away from tween-teen musicals into more dramatic roles such as Me and Orson Welles. To direct this film, the director would need to portray historical period to mask the sentiments of the book for the readers. One to take such an undertaking of romance, magic/myth and action would be Sir Peter Jackson. His work on the epic Lord of the Rings trilogy has him set in the world of understanding preternatural beings and how to make them come to life.
The Catcher in the Rye
There is a reluctance to fame, and then there was J.D. Salinger. Salinger wasn’t very thrilled by proposals from Hollywood to transform his pivotal work to the screen, and flatly refused all offers. In fact, much of his reluctance was due to a previous poor treatment of a short story he wrote to screen. Since his passing, Hollywood has been yearning to gain the permission of the family. The story is an illustration of the confusion of a young man from privilege to seek out his personal relevance. This story reminded me of the search that Siddhartha Gautama went on to receive his enlightenment as the Buddha.
Should a film materialize, my suggestion to play the young and confused Holden Caulfield would have been Macaulay Culkin, provided he can play an angst-ridden 16 year old. My second choice would have to be his brother Kieran. Unfortunate that John Hughes, who made his mark with works such as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, had passed away. Surely from his legacy, he could easily have translated that angst in an artistic way. Directing this dream project for this age would have to be a director who is in line with the angst of present youth, so with that in mind I would recommend Lee Daniels. His artistic and painful reminders of social upheaval in such films as Monster’s Ball and more recently Precious has earned Academy Award nominations and wins.
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
A wild a raucous ride on a big bus named “Furthur” with free-loving and living hippies who drop out of society to change their minds. This is the story as told by Tom Wolfe as he ventured out with the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’sNest Ken Kesey and his band of Merry Pranksters during the sixties to “freak out” the Establishment and their buttoned-down ideas. This story of freedom and adventure set on the precipice of American reinvention, is starting to gain some interest as a film like On the Road. For me, this work became a defining moment in my life to understand a generation that parented and supported me as I grew up. The price for freedom these people paid shows in our innovation and growth in this present time we live in.
A production is set to start in 2011 with Gus Van Sant directing. To play Kesey, I would agree that they should go with Woody Harrelson and Tom Wolfe should be played by Jack Black. The rounding out of the varied roles remaining could indeed be a stellar affair as many on the list are a who’s who of the Beat/Yippie movement!
It’s not a new thing that Hollywood has sought ways to transcribe books onto celluloid. It has been a long dream of writers to illustrate visions into their reader’s minds, and Hollywood has the tool to make such a vision happen. With resistance from some modern writers fading to bring their works to the screen, one day you could find a book you write actually being optioned to be created as a work of cinematic art!