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Words into Pictures?
by Xavier Jones-Barlow

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In the last couple of weeks it has been confirmed that two of my favourite books ever, are to be made into films. This sort of news is not only exciting but at the same time disappointing, slightly scary and more than a little worrying. Part of me is happy that these excellent stories are destined to reach a wider audience the rest of me is just praying that 'they' don't make a complete pigs ear of them. I am, of course, referring to the quite brilliant drama/fantasy 'The Time Travellers Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger and the heart wrenching 'The Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold.

THE TIME TRAVELLERS WIFE will star Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams and is set for a late 2008 release. It is simply a love story with a slightly kooky twist. It tells a tale of Henry, a man that is afflicted with a rather unfortunate disease of involuntary time travel. The narrative bounces between Henry and his lady friend Clare at various points in their lives. It is a kinda sad story that had me bawling like a baby at the end. It is hard to imagine how all the time shifts can be done effectively on film, some very inspired make up will be required. I am disappointed that I was not considered to play the part of Henry and if Rachel McAdams has not got fiery red hair I will start a petition. Or something. Secondary casting has commenced and it is due to go into productions in the next few months.

THE LOVELY BONES is quite horrific in places. A story of a murdered girl looking over her world and memories from the vantage point of heaven. The turmoil her friends and family have to endure and her murderer, and how he continues with his life. Another generally sad story that often paints a picture too vivid. Casting is under way and a release date of early 2009
has been pencilled. Peter Jackson is directing, he also wrote the screenplay so there is the chance that all the characters will be CGI, who knows. No confirmations as of yet but Ellen Page and even Dakota Fanning have been mentioned.

As wheels have already been set in motion on these literary favourites of mine I am just going to have to patient. Whatever happens, happens and there is pretty much nothing I can do about it. I am a big reader. Without going into too much detail I do hold the opinion that books, films, music and art are the qualities that put Human Beings above other animal life, not politics or religion, creativity is key here and I am a big fan of anything that makes you think. You cannot deny the influence literature has on film, what percentage of films made were originally books? More than 50%? Think of some of the biggest films, aside from all the period pieces, in recent years THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy stands out, as does the HARRY POTTER series. AMERICAN BEAUTY, FIGHT CLUB and BOURNE are are just a few of the examples that debuted in print. I'd like to share with you some of my other favourite books. To date I have no knowledge as to if they will ever appear in film although I am of the opinion that perhaps they should.

'Girlfriend In A Coma' by Douglas Coupland. It's a story about a boy and a girl in Vancouver, Canada, a typical teenage relationship. However, it goes slightly wrong. I would like to point out that I consider this to be my favourite book. Ever. It's almost like a modern day fable a story of Richard and Karen. A seemingly pretty normal teenage couple that run into slightly surreal complications. If it was ever made into a film, I would imagine that somebody like Peter Jackson or
Notice how there are no pictures....

Notice how there are no pictures....
even Steven Spielberg would want to sort the story out for me. Douglas Copeland has produced many a ditty, that appeals to me greatly, but unfortunately, none of his work has been to be translated to the big screen. Yet. Again, I always pictured myself in the lead role, I always thought that Richard was a slightly Northern Amercan version of myself.

'Romanitas' by Sophia McDougall. Now this is an epic story in the vain of GLADIATOR or 300. I love this book. This it is a brilliant book, by the way. The first in a trilogy about an alternate history. Can you just imagine if the Roman Empire had not dissolved as it had. Primarily, it is set in London and across Europe. Just having a moment whilst contemplating the fact that it is four in the morning. Sophia has imagined a world that is possibly right at home at the general cinemascape. This is exactly the sort of story that is DYING to be made into a film. Before you saw it anywhere else Xavier is playing the part of Drusus. HA!

'Lanark' by Alisdair Gray. Now you are going to have to excuse me here, Lanark is considered to be somewhat of a Scottish classic. Divided into four parts but, clearly set in to two worlds, it's blends the surreal with the painful truth. Some parts of this book are set in the fictional world of Unthank which in it's real state roughly translates as Glasgow, this is probably why it is so close to my heart. I could not possibly comprehend how this book could possibly be made into a film, but then again, I thought that about FIGHT CLUB.

So thanks for listening, if you're not too stuck up and you fancy reading a few books, give us a shout and we'll talk about who should be in these films.

Till next time, in print or on the radio, Xav

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Xavier's Book Club
Every other Saturday

Xavier analyses film, literary. A bizarre melding of books and movies.

Other Columns
Other columns by Xavier Jones-Barlow:

My Month As A Teenage Girl

Mr Jones and the Shame of the Spolier Scolls

Fragment: Consider Revising.

Proof Reading The Movies #1

The Cinematic Chicken And The Literary Egg

All Columns

Xavier Jones-Barlow
Xavier lives in Scotland where it is very cold. He spends his time writing about live bands and people dreamt up in his bizarre imagination. Quite huggable .

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Xavier Jones-Barlow by clicking here.

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