Perspectives on Pop Culture and the Arts

Friday, April 14, 2006

Lehane's "Gone, Baby, Gone" to be adapted to film... by who?!

Many people are familiar with author, Dennis Lehane's, 'Mystic River.' If you were familiar with his work before that novel was adapted to the big screen then props to you my friend, because I wasn't. While I still haven't read the book or seen the movie, its adaptation from book to film - and the positive response that the film was received with - got me excited to read Lehane's other works. The hardboiled detective crime/thriller series that follows Patrick Kenzie and his partner/friend Angela Gennaro through a number of amusing, dramatic, and heinous events, has been a really entertaining experience, and I've wondered how long it would be until these books were shoved through the Hollywood machine...

Well, all of my wondering has been telepathically downloaded (DRM-free, of course) by tasteless perverts like studio agent Marty Bowen in Adaptation - Thanks, Buddy! - and is being used to make 'Gone Baby Gone' into a feature film. Unfortunately, they didn't care too much for my thoughts, as they have appointed everyone's favorite sparkle-eyed chowder-head, Ben Affleck, to direct it.

[roll Aerosmith balladic anthem]

What is going on here? These novels aren't some glitzy stroll down the red carpet of plastic passion. They are grimey, cynical, tragic, profound, and adventurous ala Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammet, and Mickey Spillane. It begs the question, has Lehane been offered a boat load of money, or is Ben (or the Hollywood exec) his long lost cousin in-law who he's somehow obligated to in order to preserve civility at the next Christmas dinner?

Apparently this isn't Ben's first foray into the world of directing either - he's made two other films that apparently sucked so bad that they were never released. Very reassuring. It's worse than just Ben Affleck directing however - now his brother, Casey, is being cast, presumably as Patrick?! Yikes! On the other hand, the actress that they list, Michelle Monaghan, at least seems to look the part of Angela Gennaro. Whether that's enough or not, we'll soon find out.

What they really need to do now to get me back on board with the idea is for them to cast John Malkovich... as anyone, somehow - just write him into the script. Come on, I'm dying here! I know the stories are quite bleak and pessimistic, but this is immoral.

Hopefully all of my cynicism and worry will be set straight by a brilliant adaptation that is able to stand on it's own; I'd hate for a mediocre movie to deter anyone from getting into Lehane's work.

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