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I have been so keyed up recently at the anticipation of upcoming movies born from great literary icons.

And, a little searching on IMDB (the great black hole of time-suckage) has revealed a great web of beautiful books-to-film awesomeness.  (Kind of like The Six Degrees of Bibliophile.) 

Let’s start with:

Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers:  I am quite familiar with this story.  I was reading the book when I discovered I was pregnant for the first time and, consequently, named my oldest son after Dumas. (And before you ask, no, I do not have a son named Dumas.  But.  That would be funny.)  The 1993 film adaptation with Oliver Platt (one of my all-time favorite actors) and Kiefer Southerland is one of those movies I had on tape and watched over and over again until my VCR eventually – out of fatigue – ate it.  The very thought of someone remaking this story and doing it any better is daunting. 

But!  After a little research, it seems the new film has a fighting chance.

Athos:  the heated, tortured soul was almost type-casted with Kiefer Southerland in the 1993 version.  But the newest adaptation will host Matthew Macfadyen in that role.  WHO, you say??  Well, I didn’t know either.  Except, his profile pic on IMDB was hauntingly familiar …  I knew those eyes …  that almost heartbreaking stare … so I looked at his past work and there it was – Macfadyen played Mr. Darcy in the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice … with Keira Knightley.  And talk about type-casting!  Macfadyen was brilliant as history’s most brooding literary character.  The transition to Athos should prove almost seamless.  OH – and, he’s playing Prince Oblonsky in a 2012 version of:

  • Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Kerenina:  Once again, Keira Kightley (Miss Elizabeth herself) will be standing up alongside Macfadyen, as she is taking on Anna.  And Jude Law is playing Alexei.  (Now that I have that vision firmly in my head, perhaps I should read that beast again.)  Making an appearance as Count Vronsky will be Aaron Johnson, who played the lead in Kick-Ass (not exactly a literary reference, but that film was based on a comic book … sooo …).  While Johnson was quite funny in Kick-Ass, I get the feeling that he would be great in a more serious role.  I’m interested to see how he translates as Vronsky.

Porthos:  Ray Stevenson is set to play Porthos.  The man has his hands full in convincing me to shift any love from Platt.  But I have high hopes.  His acting history includes a LOT of super hero movies, but he was also in King Arthur, with – surprise – Keira Knightley!  In that 2009 flick, he played Dagonet – the jester – promising!

Aramis:  Here’s where it gets interesting.  Luke Evans is set to play Aramis, the ladies man of the Musketeers.  While Evans’ acting history doesn’t reach back very far (or into many leading roles), his future is bright with literary reference.  Evans will be playing in two forthcoming bibliophile films:

  • The Raven:  This is not a movie based on the poem by Edgar Allen Poe, but rather a fictionalized account of the author himself – and someone who is committing murders based on the tragedies that take place in his body of work.  Evans will be a detective investigating these murders.  Playing Poe will be John Cusack – not exactly my first choice.  Just not … dark enough, I suppose.  But, we’ll see.   This one is set to come out in 2012.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:  Evans is set to play Bard the Bowman in the two-part Hobbit films.  Soooooo looking forward to these!  I’ll have to admit, however, that I have not read Tolkien’s juvenile novel (the success of which spurred the writing of The Lord of the Rings).  I did snatch the book from my brother’s room as a child, but I put it down after reading the first chapter and returned to the adventures of Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield – more my speed at the time.  I do have a mind to dive into this one again before the movies come out in 2012 and 2013.  And side note, the pretty pretty Richard Armitage – whom I loved in the 2004 mini-series North & South (if you are an Austen-era literature fan, you MUST see this – it’s currently on Netflix) – is playing Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the Dwarves.

D’Artagnan:  Logan Lerman (born in 1992 – so he was learning how to walk when the 1993 version of the film came out – geez I’m old) is playing the young stubborn boy longing to be a Musketeer.  He’s also staring as Percy Jackson in the films based on that young adult series.

Milady de Winter:  Milla Jovovich (multipass!)

Duke of Buckingham:  Orlando Bloom.  This character doesn’t actually make an appearance in the 1993 film (he’s only referenced), but he must play a strong role in the newest version.  Cause Bloom’s head is the biggest one on the movie poster.  (Perhaps he just has a better publicist.)  And I don’t think it’s necessary to mention Bloom’s literary connection.  But I will.  He is, of course, the Elf Legolas Greenleaf in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and he will also be playing Legolas in the upcoming Hobbit films.  And, of course, Bloom played alongside Keira Knightley in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.

Cardinal Richelieu:  Christoph Walz.  Although I won’t discount Tim Curry’s brilliant performance in the 1993 film, this Walz guy just LOOKS the part.  His filmography is vast, but most of his work is in German.  It seems Quentin Tarantino introduced him to America in 2009 in Inglorious Basterds, and then he played August in Water for Elephants (still haven’t had the pleasure of seeing that one!).   

So, there it is.  An intricate weaving of characters.  But wait!  It’s not over!

Two other upcoming literary films I want to mention:

Anonymous:  much like a theme touched on in Jennifer Lee Carrell’s Interred with Their Bones, this film theorizes that it was not a man named Shakespeare who wrote the plays and sonnets we still pour into generations later, but that the Earl of Oxford instead was the true writer.  Interesting.  Can’t wait to see it.

And finally …

The Great Gatsby:  One of my all-time favorite books.  Baz Luhrmann is directing (think Moulin Rouge and the 1996 version of Romeo and Juliet) and Jay Gatsby will be played by Leonardo DiCaprio (also Luhrmann’s Romeo from ’96).  Carey Mulligan (love her!) will be playing Daisy.  Mulligan was also in the 2005 mini-series based on Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and – what do you know – she was also in Pride & Prejudice with … wait for it … Keira Knightley!

*sigh*  So many good things to come …

I started a new blog today at http://iamawriterdangit.wordpress.com/ because, while I love posting to this broad-based journal, I wanted to start concentrating on something more focused.

The new blog is a step toward my goal of breaking out of my current funk and into the world of published fiction.

I’ll still be posting here periodically, though, with personal stories and quips.

I hope you visit both ventures in the near future.

Please admire the following picture as a form of bribery:

 

His First Book

Bill is alien

Image via Wikipedia

When I picked up my four-year-old from school yesterday, he was tightly grasping at a fistful of construction paper haphazardly adhered together with scotch tape.  When I asked what it was he said, “I wrote a book.”

Imagine my pride.

He could not wait until we got home (we live six minutes from the school), so he read the book to me from the backseat as we drove.

So, risking copyright infringement, I’ll share with you the contents:

The Alien that Sneaked

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was sniffing three beautiful flowers.  She was very happy.

All of a sudden, an alien sneaked up on her and jumped out from behind the flowers and said BOO.

The girl jumped!  She did not know the alien was there.

The End.

The first pics of the Hunger Games movie are up on IMDB.

Check them out here.

I especially love the flaming Mockingjay poster.  Mmmm….niiiiicccceeee.

 

Cool short

I read a great short story today that drew me in and made me smile.

It’s about a girl who is a little different, trying to fit in to a new high school.  Who can’t relate to that?  But when I say different, I mean randomly-growing-new-appendages kinda different. 

And the writer is a Hill Country gal, so I thought I’d share.  Enjoy.

Deployment sucks.  And some days are harder than others.

Today, in fact, was a hard one.  So I Googled “surviving deployment” and got a bunch of exactly what I don’t need – mushy crap about being strong and holding on.  Crap that made me cry.  And that’s exactly what I was trying to avoid.  Bleh.

So, today’s blog post is a self-service kind of list.  It’s a way of saying FU to deployment.  And all the crying crap that comes with it.

Here’s some REAL advice.

My TOP TEN Strategies for SURVIVING DEPLOYMENT:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAStep 1: DRINK.  A LOT.  I recommend Cabernet.  But whatever.  Your choice.  Just medicate.

Step 2: SWIM.  Well, okay, that’s just for me.  But do what makes YOU happy.  If you like to cook, then cook.  If you like to dig in the dirt or drive motorcycles or dance or color or whatever.  Just do it.  Because YOU have to make YOU happy right now.  The other person in this world responsible for making you happy is oceans away.  So this falls on your shoulders right now.

Step 3: SHOP.   Buy those Manolos you’ve been having wet dreams about.  Or the Pottery Barn shower curtain that is five times more expensive than the one you have now.  Or the smart phone you’ve been dying to get your hands on.  I’m not suggesting you put yourself into debt.  I’m saying pay your bills, then use what is left over for a little RETAIL THERAPY.  You can save a little more when he gets back to make up for it.  Splurge a little for yourself.  You deserve it.

Step 4: DECORATE.  What, he doesn’t like the color pink?  Well, now’s a good time to paint the bedroom pink.  Why?  CAUSE HE’S NOT HERE.  Throw in some fluffy purple curtains with unicorns on them.  Okay, never mind, don’t do that.  UNLESS that is what you want. If it is, then do it.  Just don’t tell me about it, I might throw up in my mouth a little bit.  The point is, you have these decorating compromises you’ve made for him.  (That comfy <butt ugly> chair that he loves.  The futon left over from his college days.) But now you have a year of NO COMPROMISE.  So do whatever the last thing is that you suggested that he shot down.  You can always change it when he gets back.  For now, it will feel like a little bit of rebellion.  And it will make you happy.

Step 5:  BITCH.  Call your girlfriends and tell them how you feel.   Here’s a few suggestions:  Love sucks!  I should have married for money!  You know he has a third nipple?

Step 6:  GET BUSY.  DO everything you’ve thought about doing but haven’t.  Join a gym, take the kids to the park or the pool, take guitar lessons, hike the nearest mountain, boat in the nearest lake.  JUST do something.  You’ll experience new things, meet new people, and the time will fly by.  Basically, LIVE your life.   You knew how to live without him before you met him.  Figure out how to do that again.

Step 7:  GIVE BACK.  I’m gonna get all serious-mode on you now.  Because, let’s face it, there is always someone out there who has it worse than you.  And maybe, the best way to help yourself during this time is to help someone else.  Sign up for a river clean-up, a soup kitchen, something that you can devote your time to, something that can help you keep perspective.

Step 8:  GET DIRTY.  Forget the housework. Let the dishes pile in the sink.  Don’t vacuum that floor until you can SEE the dog hair built up on it.  Neglect the laundry until someone runs out of underwear.  I know, some of that sounds painful.  But here’s the thing – it doesn’t MATTER.  What matters is that you are happy.  And your kids are happy.  And if you have to let the dusting go one weekend because you have a waterpark to go to, well, then, SO BE IT.  Just let it go.

Step 9:  WRITE.  Your feelings are important.  You should write them down.  There are few things more therapeutic than getting your thoughts down on paper.  That’s what brainstorming is, just letting it flow.  Surviving deployment is about just that: surviving.  Don’t avoid the pain, let it out.  Don’t hold it inside, push it onto the page.  Keep a journal that only you are going to see.  If it’s private, then you don’t have to worry about anyone but you when you write it.  No one to judge you or tell you it’s wrong.  Just say whatever it is you want to say.  And you’ll be amazed at how you feel afterward.

Step 10:  FEEL THE LOVE.  Or more importantly, share the love.  The reason this is so hard for you is because you love that man.  Damnit.  Despite his third nipple.  You miss him.  And that sucks.  But it sucks for him too.  So tell him you love him and you miss him.  And you can’t wait for him to come home.  Because I’ll bet he feels the same way.  Then hang up the phone, and go back to Step 1.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow at the launch of Estee...

Image via Wikipedia

Gweneth Paltrow posted an important piece about homosexuality and the bible on her blog today.  She gathered insight from spiritual leaders on the subject and the result is a calm, knowledgeable argument for “leave the gays the hell alone.”

As a mother, I worry about my children growing up in a world that still faces bigotry against human beings who were born differently.  I worry because I don’t want my babies to face such pain themselves (my oldest, bless him, is a sensitive, creative soul, and I can see the sting of exclusion on his face when he is not welcomed into a group because he is “unusual”).  But, alas, my kids will be hurt – that is unavoidable – and their peers will justify this pain by citing what is “right” and “wrong” as it was taught to them.  And my hope is that my boys (and their classmates who will face even more brutal intolerance) can work through the pain and come out better people for having gone through it.

One of my favorite quotes from this article:

“There are few things worse than people using religion and the Bible as an excuse to denounce, curse or hurt another person.  Speaking and acting in this way shows a complete misunderstanding of the purpose of religion, God and the Bible.”

Enjoy.