Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Watch: Spoiler-ific Local News Report On 'Batman v. Superman' That Caused WB To Lauch A Lawsuit Christopher Nolan Says 'Interstellar' Is About "What It Means To Be A Dad”; Plus Check Out New Pics Christopher Nolan Says 'Interstellar' Is About "What It Means To Be A Dad”; Plus Check Out New Pics Paul Schrader, Nicolas Winding Refn & Nicolas Cage Campaign Against Their Film 'Dying Of The Light' Paul Schrader, Nicolas Winding Refn & Nicolas Cage Campaign Against Their Film 'Dying Of The Light' WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting WTF: Horror Hit 'Annabelle' Yanked From French Theaters Due To Rioting Retrospective: The Films Of Paul Thomas Anderson Retrospective: The Films Of Paul Thomas Anderson WB Reveals Full DC Slate Through 2020, Including Two 'Justice League' Pics, 'Wonder Woman,' 'Green Lantern' & More WB Reveals Full DC Slate Through 2020, Including Two 'Justice League' Pics, 'Wonder Woman,' 'Green Lantern' & More Brad Bird Explains Why He Passed On Directing 'Star Wars: Episode 7' Brad Bird Explains Why He Passed On Directing 'Star Wars: Episode 7' Shia LaBeouf Cut His Own Face, Fought The Cast & Got A Tooth Pulled Making 'Fury' Shia LaBeouf Cut His Own Face, Fought The Cast & Got A Tooth Pulled Making 'Fury' Robert Downey Jr. To Join Chris Evans In ‘Captain America 3’ Which Will Help Launch A New Phase Of Marvel Robert Downey Jr. To Join Chris Evans In ‘Captain America 3’ Which Will Help Launch A New Phase Of Marvel BFI London Film Festival Review: Susanne Bier's Long-Delayed 'Serena' Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper BFI London Film Festival Review: Susanne Bier's Long-Delayed 'Serena' Starring Jennifer Lawrence & Bradley Cooper Oscar Buzz: Who's Going To Challenge For Best Actress This Year? Oscar Buzz: Who's Going To Challenge For Best Actress This Year? Robert Downey Jr. Says Superhero Films Are Becoming “Old" And Showing "Signs Of Fraying Around The Edges” Robert Downey Jr. Says Superhero Films Are Becoming “Old" And Showing "Signs Of Fraying Around The Edges” Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 6 ‘Devil You Know’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Season 5, Episode 6 ‘Devil You Know’ Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

'Talk To Me' & 'Eve's Bayou' Helmer Kasi Lemmons To Adapt Zadie Smith's 'On Beauty'

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist March 28, 2012 at 8:58AM

Unless you're up on your British literary phenomenons, you're in the McSweeney's crowd, or you're studying fiction at NYU, the name Zadie Smith might not be terribly familiar. Her first novel, the multi-cultural epic "White Teeth" caused a bidding war on the basis of an extract when the writer was only 22, and became an instant best-seller in 2000, a fate followed by her next two books, 2002's "The Autograph Man" and 2005's "On Beauty," the latter of which was nominated for the Booker Prize, the U.K.'s most prestigious literary award. But aside from a British TV miniseries version of "White Teeth," which showcased early turns from Naomie Harris and James McAvoy among others, Smith, who is currently a tenured professor of fiction at NYU, is yet to have a big-screen film made of one of her works.
1
Kasi Lemmons On Beauty

Unless you're up on your British literary phenomenons, you're in the McSweeney's crowd, or you're studying fiction at NYU, the name Zadie Smith might not be terribly familiar. Her first novel, the multi-cultural epic "White Teeth" caused a bidding war on the basis of an extract when the writer was only 22, and became an instant best-seller in 2000, a fate followed by her next two books, 2002's "The Autograph Man" and 2005's "On Beauty," the latter of which was nominated for the Booker Prize, the U.K.'s most prestigious literary award. But aside from a British TV miniseries version of "White Teeth," which showcased early turns from Naomie Harris and James McAvoy among others, Smith, who is currently a tenured professor of fiction at NYU, is yet to have a big-screen film made of one of her works.

But that's about to change, as Deadline reports that Kasi Lemmons, the filmmaker behind "Eve's Bayou," "The Caveman's Valentine" and most recently the underrated Don Cheadle/Chiwetel Ejiofor drama "Talk To Her," has signed on to write and direct an adaptation of "On Beauty." The Boston-set book (in our opinion Smith's finest, and one of the best novels of the last decade) is a loose riff on E.M. Forster's "Howard's End," following two rival academics, the British ex-pat Howard (a perfect role for Bill Nighy) who's married to an African-American woman, and Monty, a conservative Trinidadian based in Britain, whose families are drawn together when their children begin an ill-fated relationship.

The book is complex, funny, smart and sad, and full of memorable characters, so we're surprised that it's taken this long for a film version to get going, and while we don't love everything that Lemmons has made, she seems like an excellent fit for the material -- and we're certainly glad it's in the hands of an African-American filmmaker, rather than somebody like Stephen Daldry. The project is set up at Film4, Ruby Films ("Jane Eyre") and Carol Polakoff Productions, and while there's no news on when it might get before cameras, we hope it's sooner rather than later.

This article is related to: Kasi Lemmons, On Beauty


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates