Absolutely no producer purchases the film rights to more celebrated literary novels than does Scott Rudin — he’s got more than 80 production credits to his name already, and at least half of those are adaptations, including of late The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Julie and Julia, No Country for Old Men and Revolutionary Road. He has fantastic taste in novels, but he does have something of a predilection for choosing novels that are unfilmable. He has 36 projects currently in development and the lion’s share of those are based on novels, but many of those — I suspect — won’t ever make it to the big screen, including Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, Jonathan Safron-Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Junot Díaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, and Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics (which at least has directors attached, in Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (Half Nelson). The man even has the rights to The Dangerous Book for Boys, which has absolutely no chance of actually making it to the big screen — it’s an instruction manual with instructions on how to make dangerous objects. I mean, really: How the hell do you make a film based on an instruction manual? If I’m not mistaken, Rudin at one time has the rights to both Dave Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day, but they both lapsed before a movie could be made.
If anything, Scott Rudin has a knack for buying the film rights to some of my favorite novels.
Amazingly enough, Rudin was not a producer on Ian McEwan’s Atonement, which cost him six Oscar nominations and one Oscar win. Determined not to repeat that mistake (or else, in a move to corner the entire market on literary adaptations), Rudin has secured the rights to McEwan’s next novel, Solar, for Miramax. The novel, not set to be released until March 2010, is about Michael Beard, a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. He’s a serial philanderer who learns that his wife is having an affair and realizes he is still in love with her. Michael’s personal and professional lives begin to intersect in unexpected ways, and a chance arises for him to extricate himself from his marital problems, reinvigorate his career, and very possibly save the world from an environmental disaster.
I happen to know what that “opportunity” is, but I don’t want to spoil either the book or the movie; I’ll just say that the “twist” makes it apparent that both the novel and the eventual adaptation will be a black comedy, likely with a farcical edge. And unlike a lot of his purchases — The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier and Clay, in particular — there’s nothing in the description of McEwan’s Solar that would made it difficult to adapt. However, it’s not a period piece, so Rudin can kiss those Oscar noms for achievement in costume design goodbye. I’ve read a lot of McEwan — he’s clearly a brilliant writer, and has a nice sort of twisted edge, but his writing has always seemed a bit too polite for my tastes, if that makes any sense. That said, Solar would seem to have the makings of a nice adult drama with a black undercurrent.
(Source: The Hollywood Cog)