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East Bay Adaptations

On October 16, the film version of Where the Wild Things Are hits theaters, adapted in part by longtime Berkeley resident Dave Eggers. Turns out that there are a few buzz-worthy movie projects with ties to East Bay authors in the works.


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Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Book/Movie: Where the Wild Things Are

The Adaptation: Eggers and director Spike Jonze bring Maurice Sendak’s Caldecott Medal–winning children’s fantasy to life. How they’ll craft a feature-length film out of a 48-page book with limited text is anyone’s guess—but Jonze’s previous efforts, Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, were so wildly original, Wild Things could be an instant classic.

The Buzz: Wild card. The film’s trailer exhilarated movie geeks but terrified little ones. 

Busy Man: Eggers also cowrote the screenplay Away We Go and just released Zeitoun, a nonfiction book about a Syrian-American man who paddled around New Orleans in a kayak, handing out supplies in the days after Hurricane Katrina. The book took three years to write. “Zeitoun was hard work,” says Eggers. “But Where the Wild Things Are was just fun.”

Book/Movie: Love and Other Impossible Pursuits

The Adaptation: Berkeley resident Ayelet Waldman’s book about relationships has been adapted by writer/director Don Roos.

The Buzz: Hot. Pursuits should play well at 2010’s indie festivals, much like Roos’ previous The Opposite of Sex and Happy Endings.

Star Power: Jennifer Lopez was originally cast in the lead role. When she dropped out, Natalie Portman stepped in, both as star and producer. Lisa Kudrow (Friends) costars. “It was tremendously exciting to have such talented actors portraying these characters that had existed only in my mind,” says Waldman, who appears briefly in the film as an extra.

Books/Movies: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

The Adaptations: Berkeley author (and Ayelet Waldman’s husband) Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Kavalier and Clay is being directed by Stephen Daldry, while Policemen is being helmed by Joel and Ethan Coen (of Fargo fame).

The Buzz: White hot. The only other time the Coens directed a novel adaptation was the Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men. And while Kavalier and Clay had been in development for years by various director, Daldry seems a perfect pick to film this complex novel. He previously led Michael Cunningham’s The Hours and Bernhard Schlink’s The Reader to Best Picture nominations. Look for these movies in late 2010.

 Book/Movie: Moneyball

The Adaptation: Berkeley resident Michael Lewis’ book about the Oakland A’s is set to star Brad Pitt as general manager Billy Beane.

The Buzz: Hot and cold. Days before cameras were to start rolling on Moneyball this summer, Sony Pictures pulled the plug on director Steven Soderbergh’s project. Now, both Sony and Soderbergh are off the project, but the movie is still alive. And (sigh of relief), Pitt is still scheduled to play Beane. Meanwhile, Lewis’ Wall Street meltdown page-turner, Panic, hits bookstores in November.


 
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