Get Literary: 'The Diviners,' 'The Elephant Man' & 'Frog And Toad' Headed To The Big Screen

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by Ryan Gowland
June 13, 2012 11:44 AM
2 Comments
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Books have been a mainstay in Hollywood's never-ending search for film ideas, and while the adage "you should read the book" will never leave the mouths of frustrated moviegoers, a few more tomes have been picked up for film adaptation. As usual, there may be a few who are disappointed.

Young Adult fans might be familiar with author Libba Bray's "Gemma Doyle Trilogy," but probably less so with her upcoming "The Diviners." Set for release in September, "The Diviners" is the first of what will be a four-part series that will follow Evie O'Neill, a young New York transplant, who must use her mysterious powers to stop a series of occult-based murders. Since the book has yet to be published, we're sure that there's not many who will be bummed that their favorite book might get compromised on its way to the big screen. Still, those eventual fans might be comforted to know that Bray will adapt her own novel into a script, which Paramount is hoping will become, you guessed it, a franchise. [Deadline]

And now the disappointment may begin. While Paramount is targeting the YA set, production and distribution company Silver Nitrate Entertainment has picked up feature rights to the book "The True History of the Elephant Man: The Definitive Account of the Tragic and Extraordinary Life of Joseph Carey Merrick" by Michael Howell and Peter Ford. Of course, Merrick's life was originally adapted by David Lynch in his Academy Award-nominated, 1980 drama "The Elephant Man." So would Nitrate head/producer Ash Shah be looking to, essentially, remake "The Elephant Man?" Well, yes, basically. "There is a whole generation of people who are unfamiliar with Merrick's incredible story, having not been exposed to Lynch's 1980 film," Shah told Variety. "We're confident that an interesting filmmaker can bring this compassionate story to a whole new audience. Merrick's life is a testament to what the human spirit can endure and what life truly should be."

We say "good luck" to whoever the filmmaker is that Shah is referencing, but they won't have an easy road ahead. For those unfamiliar with Shah and Nitrate's recent producing efforts, the company is responsible for recent VOD actioner "Bad Ass" (which we said was filled with "generic cliches") and the comedy "Small Apartments" (which, when it debuted at SXSW, we called an "unsatisfying mixture of sweetness and filth"), so it's safe to say we're not very optimistic about what the company will do with this.

Lastly, for those who adored Arnold Lobel's "Frog and Toad" books from the 1970s, The Jim Henson Company has acquired the film rights and are looking to make an animated film out of the stories. Craig Bartlett, who created the Nickelodeon animated series "Hey Arnold!" and PBS' "Dinosaur Train," will write the screenplay, while Lobel's kids, Adam and Adrianne Lobel, will executive produce. Cory Edwards, who co-directed "Hoodwinked," will take the director's chair, which means that the "Frog and Toad" movie has at least a fair chance at being good, and the Henson Company is probably as good a production company as any to adapt the books.

"With such high caliber talent on board, the delightful and funny adventures of these two great friends — with a nod to the classic 'buddy movie' — will bring a whole new audience to their big screen debut," said Henson Company CEO Lisa Henson. We're hoping Lisa's right, but, if not, you can always read the books. [ComingSoon]

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2 Comments

  • Tavis Bickle | June 14, 2012 3:48 PMReply

    FAT CHANCE, trying to helm a film that an original mind like David lynch, could've only conceived and make into a cult classic; I'm tried of seeing these reboots of films, that don't needed to be recreated. They say "There is a whole generation of people who are unfamiliar with Merrick's incredible story, having not been exposed to Lynch's 1980 film." Then hey, make it accessible, let those unfamiliar minds discover the film through word of mouth, not by recreating something that has already been done greatly the first time.

  • Daniel | June 13, 2012 1:46 PMReply

    I love Frog & Toad. That is all.

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