Recently there has been a noticeable surge in movies being made based off of books. Ok, I lied, this has been going on since the dawn of motion pictures (someone even created a list of the books already turned into movies: http://www.ocl.net/bookinfo/if/movies.shtml). And the fact is that this trend will continue until there are no more books to adapt. So, why, with this long list of books turned into movies, haven’t these three books been adapted yet? C’mon Hollywood, get on the ball here!
House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
It really troubles me when fantastic children’s literature such as this is tossed aside and we end up with Diary of a Wimpy Kid or an unnecessary “re-imagining” of Alice in Wonderland. It’s as if the movie industry thinks that just because it is children’s literature, that they should either fill it with juvenile gross-out jokes or fail to even take the subject matter seriously.
For those that don’t know, House of the Scorpion is a science fiction novel, set in a futuristic land between the U.S. and Mexico, about a young boy named Matt who finds out that he is a clone to a wealthy and powerful man named El Patron, and as he develops he begins to learn what it means to be a human. House of the Scorpion is one of those books that should be read by children as they are getting into the phase where they start to analyze literature for thematic elements that they aren’t used to finding, and it is ripe for a movie adaptation.
I can’t really picture any particular actor to portray Matt, mostly because there appears to be an underrepresentation of child actors, but a few years ago I would have said Taylor Lautner, obviously before he transformed into eye candy for teenage girls across the nation. As for El Patron I would deem Edward James Olmos to be perfect for the role. He is superb at portraying powerful figures and I would love to see him combine this with the vile nature of El Patron. Dolph Lundgren would be great as Tam Lin, Matt’s bodyguard/Yoda Figure. Tam Lin is essentially a walking muscle, and while I was reading the book I was already picturing Dolph as him. Guillermo Del Toro is the only director I know that can pull this off right, already he has proven to be a master at infusing Spanish Culture with fantasy, and seems to love to tell a good story.
Warner Brothers Pictures has picked up the rights to House of the Scorpion so there is hope that it will be made into a movie soon. Let’s just hope it is in the right hands.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury is a master at science fiction. His works read more like poetry than sci-fi, and are usually overflowing with visual imagery that would put the planet of Pandora to shame. Martian Chronicles would have to be, in my personal opinion, his best work to date this side of Fahrenheit 451. It tells of the colonization of Mars by Earth men, and the subsequent extinction of the Martians (in an eerily familiar way), and the eventual abandonment of Mars as nuclear war breaks out on planet Earth.
Since Martian Chronicles contains far too many characters, I’m just going to list a couple of actors I would like to see involved and what roles they would be great as. Gary Oldman would be great as the psychiatrist Xxx, Nathan Fillion as Captain Wilder, Johnny Depp as Spender, Crispin Glover as Benjamin Driscoll, Billy Bob Thornton as Samuel Teece, Edward Norton as Walter Gripp, Josh Brolin as Lafarge, Paul Dano as Tom, and Alan Tudyk as Hathaway. It would be great if Steven Spielberg would collaborate with James Cameron on this since both seem very familiar with extraterrestrials. I just hope that someone in the industry picks up this book and realizes the potential it has.
A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
A Dirty Job is about a man who’s wife dies giving birth to his daughter. Shortly after he begins to receive strange packages, hear odd noises coming from the sewers, and starts to think he is going mad as people begin to drop dead around him. Though, before he has a chance to do so he is recruited as a Death. A Dirty Job is one of those books that fuses humor with emotion seamlessly, absurd yet poignant.
I imagine John Cusack to play the role of Charlie Asher. He is the quintessential Beta-man and has been playing this type of role since the 80’s. He is also great at jumping from quirky to heart-wrenching at the drop of a hat, which happens quite often in A Dirty Job. Michael Clark Duncan seems to fit the role of Minty Fresh, a towering used record shop owner/Death merchant with a penchant for green. Anyone that has read A Dirty Job most likely pictured him in this role anyways. Ellen Page would be great as Lily Servo, a goth employ at Charlie’s second hand store. In my mind I would have Don Coscarelli direct this, mostly because he seems to know how to make an absurd movie full of mythological creatures that still manages to tug at the heart. If you doubt me then go rent Bubba Ho-Tep. It will literally blow your mind.