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New Adaptation Of 'Count Of Monte Cristo' Coming (Still No Interest In The Real Black Count Apparently)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act March 18, 2013 at 9:35PM

Well, ok then... this is quite the coincidence because it was just last week Thursday that I posted THIS entry on Tom Reiss' novel, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, encouraging filmmakers/production companies/studios/whoever, to consider adapting the novel to film.
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Alex Dumas

Well, ok then... this is quite the coincidence because it was just last week Thursday that I posted THIS entry on Tom Reiss' novel, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, encouraging filmmakers/production companies/studios/whoever, to consider adapting the novel to film.

This evening, it's been announced that David Goyer has signed on to direct another adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' The Count Of Monte Cristo. for Constantin Films, who were responsible for the recent *ultra-modern* spin on another Dumas tome, The Three Musketeers, and who intend to approach this new adaptation of The Count Of Monte Cristo in very much the same way... unfortunately - like a graphic novel.

Recalling my post on Reiss' novel, the life of the subject of that book, Alexandre Dumas, the father (aka The Black Count) was the stuff of legends, and became fodder for his son's novels. The Count Of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers for example, were, in part, based on Dumas, the father's real-life story; his ending just wasn't as happy as it was for the fictional count in the 2002 film that most are probably familiar with, starring Jim Caviezel and Guy Pearce (the last time Dumas, the son's novel was adapted. There've been several film adaptations of the novel). 

Tom Reiss' book itself is both a riveting true action/adventure story of this one man's life, as well as a peek into what was essentially the modern world's first multi-racial society. Sadly a film (whether scripted narrative or documentary) has never been made on The Black Count, Alexandre Dumas, the father, and I certainly won't hold my breath for a Hollywood studio to option the rights to the novel and produce a film based on it, EVEN THOUGH they continue to milk stories from the novels written by his son - stories that are, in some cases, inspired by the father's real-life and exploits.

So instead of adapting the son's novels, why not, for once, tell the father's story on film, since he's the basis for some of the son's stories - notably The Count Of Monte Cristo? I bought a copy Reiss' book soon after it was published, and I'm finally getting around to reading it. I'm about 1/2 of the way through, and it's quite riveting. Well-written, and reads with all the thrills of a novel written by Dumas' son, likely the most popular Dumas. The father's story is just as compelling and exciting, and deserves a big screen adaptation. But there's little interest in a Black Count I guess... or as the title of Reiss' novel states, The Real Count Of Monte Cristo.

Dumas, the father, The Black Count, was born in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) in 1762, the son of a black slave woman and a rebel French aristocrat. He was briefly sold into slavery but eventually made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. He rose up through the ranks rather quickly, and would eventually command armies at the height of the French Revolution, in audacious campaigns across Europe and the Middle East.

He eventually became the highest-ranking black leader in a *modern* white society, at that time. By 32 years old, he was appointed commander-in-chief of the French army, which is the equivalent of a four-star general here in the USA.

The latter years of his life were unfortunately spent in captivity, languishing for years in an enemy dungeon (like the fictional Count Of Monte Cristo), before he would be released, all his accomplishments virtually forgotten, eventually dying of an incurable illness at just 43, in poverty, leaving a wife and 3 children - one of them being Alexandre Dumas, the son, who would go on to become the prolific and notable author.

Napoleon went to extraordinary lengths to completely bury the memory of Alex Dumas, The Black Count, ensuring that he was all-but forgotten, until recent memory.

But, nope, no feature film adaptation of that story.

Michael Robert Johnson penned the new Count Of Monte Cristo script that David Goyer will direct from, which THR says will be akin to Warner Bros' recent retooling/reimagining of the typical Sherlock Holmes movie. 

So I suppose that means expect lots of slo-mo shots of punches to the face, acrobatics and such. Snooze...



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