Steve Buscemi as Templeton the Rat (and Other Upcoming Literary Films)

For better or worse, a bunch of lit-minded films will be hitting theatres soon. Here’s the rundown:

Neal Cassady: a biopic about Neal, who went on the road with Jack Kerouac in the 40’s and then reprised the journey with Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in the 60’s, could be great. Making a film about Cassady is also a neat way to get around the Jack Kerouac’s estate’s stranglehold on any film project related to Kerouac (On The Road is Neal’s story too). But there have already been two mediocre films about Cassady, and there’s little reason to believe this one will be any better. I wasn’t encouraged when John Cassady told me he hadn’t even been consulted on the project. We shall see. (First noticed at Syntax).

Little Children: we love Tom Perrotta’s acidic multi-generational portraits of modern suburbia, and we have high hopes for this film. Kate Winslet will lead the ensemble cast, and this seems like a positive indication. Todd Field is the director, and the IMDB preview is up.

Running With Scissors: What on earth will this movie version of Augusten Burroughs’ weird confessional deliver? The book is about what happens when a selfish mother leaves her sensitive son with a truly eccentric psychiatrist who collects rejected kids. Since the book’s appeal relied much on the shocking fact that the kinky goings-on had supposedly taken place, it’s not clear how the transformation from memoir to cinematic drama will work; the results could be simply and unbelievably weird. Annette Bening plays the mother, Alec Baldwin plays the father (a character I barely remember from the book) and Brian Cox will play Dr. Finch. IMDB page and ugly promo artwork here (maybe they can redesign the artwork before release? Please? There’s plenty of time.)

Charlotte’s Web: the 1973 animated version of the great E. B. White animal fable was useless and charmless. Let’s see if the live action version can manage to be radiant or terrific. Steve Buscemi as the voice of Templeton the Rat can only help.

History Boys: I haven’t seen Alan Bennett’s academic drama, which got great reviews. The upcoming film will probably be talky as hell, but that’s not always a bad thing.

There’s the fall preview for literary films. We can only hope.

5 Responses

  1. literary filmsSpeaking of lit
    literary films

    Speaking of lit minded films, has anyone heard anything about the supposed “On the Road” innerworkings or the “other” Truman Capote film that was supposedly filmed in its totality then shelved in response to “Capote”?

    Talk of “On the Road” has been bantered about for years, what with Francis Ford Coppola having owned the rights, then there were people even saying that Brad Pitt was a frontrunner for Neal while Billy Crudup was going to play Jack. That talk died for awhile until more recently people were saying that Coppola was pleased with the direction team that did “Motorcycle Diaries” since obvious comparisons can be drawn and that he was going to talk about going into pre-production with that team to do “On the Road”.

    The Capote pic, I believe, had already been filmed even before “Capote” was released but the studio decided to hold off on the movie to not have dueling films come out around the same time. I believe it was based more off of the lavish parties Capote threw including his infamous Black and White Ball as well as his relationships with Hollywood elite. “Capote” was based off of the Gerald Clarke biography while I believe the other film yet to be released was based off of Plimpton’s bio, but I could be wrong on that. Either way, I’m a huge Capote fan so I hope the film comes to light soon. The actor playing Truman did the voice over work for Dobby in the Harry Potter films [I read this somewhere] and he looks like a dead ringer for Truman. Although I’m a huge fan of Philip Seymour Hoffman I wasn’t a huge fan of Capote because it made him subdued not only in character but also style. Capote was one to dress outlandish and the movie muted him in drab earth tones.

    Anyhow, anyone hear anything new about either of these supposed projects getting off the ground?

  2. What Happened to Kerouac?An
    What Happened to Kerouac?

    An ’85 film called “What Happened to Kerouac” was made and is warts and all, ie, less than complimentary of Jack, eg, he’s on there drunk in his interview with William F. Buckley.
    I saw the film on video but it’s available now on DVD. Was this before the estate’s stranglehold began?

  3. Warren — yeah, I’ve seen
    Warren — yeah, I’ve seen that film. It’s a good one.

    I’m not a real expert on the Kerouac estate but I do know that they are very tough on permissions. Why hasn’t a Kerouac novel been filmed in the last forty years? It’s not because nobody has tried …

  4. Here’s the Amazon page for
    Here’s >the Amazon page for “What Happened to Kerouac?”.

    The comments above regarding “What Happened to Kerouac?” are worth the clicks it takes to get there.

    Possibly the estate feels the books are doing OK for sales and a movie would kill their cash cow. It would seem an indie film maker could do an adept adaptation with artistic license and no copyright infringement.

  5. Bukowski”Factotum” starring

    “Factotum” starring Matt Dillon is also out in limited release (based on Bukowski’s novel). I haven’t seen it yet because I live in a small market, but I have at least medium hopes.

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