Daily Read (5/10/16)

Heh: Kenneth Branagh’s ‘Wallander’ is ‘almost too intense for everything’. Poor Wallander.

Drama! Russell Crowe and James Franco said they were making a movie based on Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian but oops, they don’t actually have the rights. (Deadline’s phrasing in that story is hilarious as they chastise the “instantaneous online media climate.” Which is, you know, them.)

Idris Elba is reportedly joining Jessica Chastain in Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Molly Bloom’s memoir, Molly’s Game. I don’t care about poker but I DO like all of the people involved in this!

Jesse Peretz will direct an adaptation of Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked, which is a novel I LOVE, so fingers crossed.

The Martian: Book Review + Trailer

The MartianI read Andy Weir’s The Martian earlier this week, both because of the upcoming movie and because a whole bunch of my friends recommended it. I was slightly skeptical of the “alone in space” stuff but excited about the “kind of boring potato calculations” I’d heard so much about, because, well, I’m me. But I wound up really liking the book, more than I expected; I think what made it work for me was the way it alternated between Mark’s point of view alone on Mars and the points of view of the NASA people (and a few others) trying to rescue him. It kept up the momentum, as Mark’s sections occasionally dragged a bit – which I realize was both inevitable and perhaps intentional, in highlighting his isolation, but just because I understand why the author did something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what I want to read. (Though I’ll say – Mark’s sections were way less tedious than I’d feared.) Also, “a bunch of prickly smart people coming together to solve a problem” is literally the thing I want most in fiction (or, heck, nonfiction), all the time. All the math and science was definitely a plus for me, though this is a personal preference thing and I can definitely see it turning some people off.

(A brief digression: I don’t think everything has to pass the Bechdel test to be worthy as art, but it is something I generally think about, and I was just musing: does it count as “talking about a man” in the same way if women are talking about a man because saving him is their job and they are talented professionals? Because that feels different.)

Anyway! This book was very cinematic and I think the “man alone on Mars” stuff interspersed with “NASA urgently doing things” will keep the momentum of the movie going, as well. I can’t say Matt Damon is exactly who I pictured as I was reading (even though I knew he had the role), but I like him well enough in general, and I’m really excited about a bunch of the supporting cast – Jeff Daniels! Mackenzie Davis! Sebastian Stan! Jessica Chastain! Sean Bean! Donald Glover! Chiwetel Ejiofor! EVERYONE IS IN THIS.

Here’s the trailer. Thoughts? I just noticed that 20th Century Fox has released a few clips – maybe I’ll post them over the weekend and we can discuss further.

Movie Casting: This Is Where I Leave You, The Zookeeper’s Wife & More

Let’s catch up on a bunch of movie casting news.

Casting News: Arrow, Captain America 2, The Chaperone, Mercy, Black Mass, For the Dogs, Miss Julie

  • Just in: Emily Bett Rickards will be a regular on season two of Arrow! Yay!
  • Emily VanCamp will be starring with Chris Evans in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
  • Ooh, Julian Fellowes is writing an adaptation of Laura Moriarty’s The Chaperone, starring Elizabeth McGovern!
  • Mark Duplass has been cast in Mercy, based on Stephen King’s story “Gramma.”
  • Johnny Depp is starring as Whitey Bulger in the movie based on true crime book Black Mass. Huh.
  • For the Dogs, adapted from Kevin Wignall’s novel, will star Sam Worthington.
  • Jessica Chastain, who is having a very good few years, has joined the adaptation of Strindberg’s Miss Julie.