Announced about a year ago, the graphic novel, A Contract With God And Other Tenement Stories, published in 1978 by the late cartoonist, Will Eisner, is being adapted into a feature-length film with 4 directors attached to direct each of the four short stories the book tells: A Contract With God, The Super, The Street Singer, and Cookalein.
All 4 stories, said to be semi-autobiographical, are mostly set in a Bronx tenement in the 1930s, and are centered on common themes of first-generation immigrant experiences, across different cultures.
The 4 lucky directors who were brought on to helm each of the 4 stories that'll make up the feature film included: Alex Rivera (Sleep Dealer), Tze Chun (Children of Invention), Sean Baker (The Prince Of Broadway), and, of course, as the title of this post indicates, Barry Jenkins (Medicine for Melancholy).
Barry is tackling The Super.
I still haven't read it,even though I said I would when we first wrote about this last summer. Forgive me.
It's considered a critically acclaimed landmark work, containing "jarringly bleak" stories of "life, death, faith and failure."
Fast-forward to almost exactly a year later, and an announcement was posted on the project's Facebook page late last night/early this morning, alerting fans to the very first blog entry posted on the film's website from producer Darren Dean - a much-needed update on where the project stands, as we've heard very little about it since that initial announcement in July of 2010.
So, what's the deal with A Contract With God?
Well, thankfully, it's not dead. In fact, producer Dean says that they are "closer than ever" to making the film, despite what he called a "tumultuous year," thanks to a number of setbacks.
Also, they're suring up the production team, adding producer Jonathan Shoemaker (The Treatment, Henry’s Crime), as well as casting directors Alison Buck and Jennifer Rudin.
And with that, they have begun casting for the project, with plans to release the names of the attached actors, and even some pages from the actual script, in the next week or so - a script that's been approved by the author's publisher and widow.
And lastly, with the launch of a new website/blog for the project, they plan to communicate much more frequently from now on, with those of us who are interested in the film's progress. That's good to hear. I'd actually forgotten all about it, because I hadn't heard anything in a year.
As I said in my original post, there's an obvious indie spirit surrounding this project, given the directors and producers; and that's a good thing. 4 distinct styles here; I'm really curious to see how it all comes together in the end.
I promise I'll actually read the book this time, with most interest on the segment Barry Jenkins is writing and directing, and maybe I'll post one of my book-to-film entries afterward.
In the meantime, you can order a copy HERE if you'd like.