Five Of Your Favorite Novels Head To The Big Screen in 2013

With a slew of new page-to-popcorn films in the works, here’s a look at what will be making its way onto the silver screen next year.


French writer Émile Zola’s novel-turned-play Thérèse Raquin has been adapted for the screen many times, but this December we’ll get a taste of director Charlie Stratton’s take on the haunting classic. The psychological tale of affaires de coeur and betrayal centers on Thérèse, a young woman forcibly married to her first cousin, who soon begins a turbulent affair with her husband’s friend. After the lovers conspire to murder her husband, they find themselves haunted by his ghost as their love turns to fiery rage. Elizabeth Olsen takes the reins as Thérèse, with Jessica Lange, Tom Felton, and Oscar Isaac adding to the cast of tortured characters.


After Brian De Palma released his cult-classic adaptation of Stephen King’s novel in 1976, who knew there needed to be another one? But as Hollywood is wont to do, audiences are in store for a new spin on the bloody story of a shy high school outcast who taps into her newly discovered telekinetic powers to exact revenge on her bullying schoolmates. Helmed by Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce, the film stars budding ingénue Chloë Grace Moretz in the titular role alongside Julianne Moore and Judy Greer in the new adaptation of one of the most frequently banned books in the U.S.


Like a boat against the current “borne back ceaselessly into the past,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most celebrated work of obsession and tragedy will make its way to the screen once again this spring. The long-awaited adaptation will reunite director Baz Luhrmann with Leonardo DiCaprio, as Gatsby, and stars Carey Mulligan as his unattainable love, Daisy. After being pushed from its December release to May, anticipation for the film has only increased, with audiences wondering just what Luhrmann’s theatrical aesthetic will add to the beloved tale.


Adapted from Joseph Delaney’s 2004 children’s novel, The Spook’s Apprentice, this 18th Century adventure film centers around a mystical young boy, Thomas, who becomes an apprentice to the local Spook (a cloaked man who travels the country fighting evil spirits for those who cannot) in order to learn the supernatural trade. Directed by Sergei Bodrov, the film will star The Chronicles of Narnia’s Ben Barnes in the lead role, with Julianne Moore as a cannibalistic, mischievous witch named Mother Malkin. Jeff Bridges and Alicia Vikander also join the cast.


Orson Scott Card’s science fiction thriller has been inching its way to the screen for years. First published in 1977 as a short story, the futuristic tale of alien warfare and adventure is set to hit theaters in November. Featuring Hugo’s Asa Butterfield and Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin, the film tells the story of a gifted boy sent to a space-based military school to prepare for an alien invasion. The sci-fi classic will be directed by actor/director Gavin Hood, who leads Hollywood veterans Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley into the dystopian future.

Britweek Kicks Off in L.A.

Just as Wills and Kate get set to tie the knot, a fortuitously-timed Britweek kicked off last night in Los Angeles. “I think the Britweek board must have a direct line to Buckingham Palace, because they set the date for this year’s Britweek last year,” Consul General Dame Barbara Hay said Tuesday evening at the British Government’s stately home in L.A.’s Hancock Park district. (Perhaps surprisingly, the city boasts the most U.K. expats.) She, along with a clutch of English actors, fashion names, and local business leaders, were all on hand to celebrate Britweek’s launch. Appropriately, catered food consisted of fish & chips.

Actress Laura Waddell, who has been a Tinseltown resident for just over a year, came dressed for the occasion, and reminisced about her native country on the purple carpet in front of the Consul General’s home. “I get really homesick sometimes, but there is a shop in Santa Monica where they have real chocolate Easter eggs,” she gushed excitedly before noting L.A. was a bit lacking in proper pubs. Sir Ben Kingsley seemed to see a bit of England everywhere in Los Angeles. “Right there, roses,” he deadpanned, while pointing at a bush. “There’s a rose garden right behind us and it’s a little bit of England.” Although sunny Southern California might not be the most obvious place for Brits to get a fix of home, Kingsley noted many of London’s best exports were easily found. He name-checked Soho House, saying he’d been “many times” and that he “enjoys it as my wife is a member.”

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also dropped by to give a speech.

So what, exactly, is Britweek? According to Mindy Gail, the Executive Director of the annual event, Britweek is the “celebration of the British influences on the lifestyle culture businesses of L.A. We celebrate those contributions in art, music, film television, design and fashion.” Translation: Many small events taking place at various venues all over L.A. this week. Many are quasi-private/rsvp only, but many are also open to the public, such as Thursday’s Jaguar and Virgin Atlantic-sponsored fundraiser at L.A. Live, honoring English AEG CEO Timothy J. Leiweke. Heidi Klum’s favorite Brit, Seal, is performing at the event Thursday, and ticket information on the dinner concert can be found at the official Britweek website, along with all this week’s English calendar for Anglophiles in L.A.

Links: The MTV Movie Awards F#&%ing Awesome, Justin Bieber Lesbians

● During Sunday night’s MTV Movie Awards, the censors failed so often it was more like a Quentin Tarantino movie than a television broadcast. Here’s a collection of every F-bomb dropped. [Mediaite] ● What was so bleeping awesome? Sandra Bullock kissing Scarlett Johansson, mostly. [CBS] ● When Ben Kingsley mocks Heidi Montag’s unsolicited audition tape for Transformers 3, it’s difficult to tell exactly where the joke is, but it’s still really funny. [Art & Revelry]

● The man who played President Obama in a porno about Sarah Palin, Stephen Hill, fell to his death from a cliff while clutching a samurai sword. It gets more bizarre and much sadder. [Gawker] ● Justin Bieber upped his indie cred by playing a secret show in Queens, while lesbians who look like the young teen have coined the term “Biebians” to describe themselves. [Vulture] ● Some strange illuminati, cult-like business is going on at Facebook, if the company’s secret hooded sweatshirts are any indication. [TechCrunch]

Movie Reviews: ‘Greenberg’, ‘She’s Out of My League’, ‘Happy Tears’

Happy Tears – We grow old. It goes without saying, and yet, we don’t say it much. Happy Tears contends with this inevitability. Parker Posey and Demi Moore play sisters who return home to care for their increasingly delusional father (Rip Torn). Mitchell Lichtenstein, director of vagina dentata classic Teeth, honors his own father, late pop-art star Roy Lichtenstein, by crafting whimsical fantasy sequences that mimic his work. Posey and Moore aren’t always believable as kin and, poetically, it’s left to the old folks to steal the show: Torn’s peculiar brand of crazy — unlike his character — never gets old, while Ellen Barkin is downright resplendent as an aging sexpot who claims to be his nurse. (Think: Elle Woods in 30 years, rocking a prop stethoscope.) — Eiseley Tauginas

Shutter Island – In the latest offering from Scorsese-DiCaprio, the legendary director quells his epic ambitions (The Aviator, Gangs of New York) and goes straight for the jugular (Goodfellas, The Departed). The ageless DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a U.S. Marshal sent to investigate the disappearance of an inmate (Emily Mortimer) at an insane asylum. Less cerebral than what we’ve come to expect from the creator of Taxi Driver, it’s still a thrill to watch him revel in B-movie jolts. Anchored by strong performances from a cast that includes Mark Ruffalo and Ben Kingsley, Shutter Island mines suspense thriller tropes all the way down to the twist ending. It’s a popcorn movie from a master. — Ben Barna

She’s Out of My League – Following Judd Apatow’s not-so-secret recipe — equal parts fart and heart — is harder than it looks. Director Jim Field Smith serves up the story of a dorky string bean (Jay Baruchel, an Apatow protégé) who lands himself a Maxim-ready dream girl (newcomer Alice Eve), and it doesn’t go down easy. Peppered with recycled ingredients, League features the stereotypical abusive quarterback brother, trashy ex-girlfriend and obligatory body-hair-removal scene. There’s even a final breathless run to the airport. Baruchel is charming and self-deprecating enough, but he can’t seem to figure out why his curly-haired best friend isn’t Seth Rogen. — B.B.

The Exploding Girl – Let’s just come right out and say it: despite its title, not much happens in The Exploding Girl. (Still, don’t Google the title, ever.) It’s a languid, dreamy two-hour nap, in the best possible way. Zoe Kazan commands each scene as a college co-ed whiling away her summer break. Torn between an existing relationship with her distracted boyfriend and new feelings for her best friend, she captures with glorious lethargy the stumbling hesitance of young love. With the exception of her character’s epilepsy, which does give the film a streak of Degrassi, there are no histrionics, just plenty of minor disappointments, quiet kindnesses and inarticulate dialogue. — Nick Haramis

Greenberg– Do overgrown man-boys inspire your compassion or ire? Do you empathize with lost, emotionally stunted, over-privileged, brutally honest 40-somethings — or do they make you want to throw popcorn at the screen? These are some of the questions raised by Greenberg, the latest therapy session from The Squid and The Whale director Noah Baumbach [see page 48]. The film stars an extremely convincing Ben Stiller as Roger Greenberg. A bumbling, neurotic New Yorker with an ambition deficit, he returns to Los Angeles to behave awkwardly while dating his brother’s much younger dog-walker Florence, the immensely appealing mumblecore queen Greta Gerwig. True to Baumbach form, the film feels oppressively honest. — Willa Paskin

Sir Ben Kingsley Walks Amongst The Dead

Sir Ben Kingsley exists in that rare stratosphere of actors, that no matter what the role—whether it be a Jewish accountant in Schindler’s List, or a perennially blitzed psychiatrist in The Wackness—he commands respect. He has the ability to lend credibility to any movie he’s in, even if it’s called BloodRayne. Before Sir Ben bestows serious heebie jeebies on audiences this October as a nefarious doctor in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, Kingsley lent his Oscar-winning clout to Fifty Dead Men Walking, a smallish IRA crime thriller set in the late 80s. In the film, written and directed by Kari Skogland and based on the autobiography of ex-IRA agent Martin McGartland, Sir Ben plays British handler Fergus to Jim Sturgess’ undercover informant. The film is a tense, razor-sharp thriller that depends more on emotion than it does action. I caught up with the legendary actor to discuss his latest role, the symphonic nature of film, and if he’s intimidated by being intimidating.

You are somewhat selective in the roles that you play. What is it that drew you to this script? Well, it usually has something to do with the work that I’ve done just before, because you don’t want to keep scraping away at the same set of nerves in the system. And there was something about this character that struck me as being really ordinary, in the best sense of the word. An ordinary chap, caught up in extraordinary circumstances. So, what drew me to him was his approach to the job. There was nothing heroic about him, whatsoever. And then there’s the arc of the film, which nudges him inevitably towards risking his life. I like a journey and that journey was from somebody acknowledging “gosh I’m ordinary” to “whoa, I’ve just done something extraordinary”.

Yeah, your character was incredibly powerful. I mean, it took until virtually the end of the movie until we knew if he was a good guy or a bad guy. Let’s talk a bit about your relationship with Jim. I thought it was more than anything a father/son type relationship. There is a powerful scene at the end, where the car is reversing and it’s as if you then realize you only have each other. By the way, that is a beautiful choice on the part of Kari Skogland the director. Because there’s nothing Jim and I could do, until she says, “Actually, you’re going to reverse out of the scene, and I’m going to keep the camera on the car reversing.” And then Jim and I go. “Oh, of course.” Cause we look at this script and we say “How the heck can we act that?” Because it’s almost unactable, that level of frustration of grief and loss. But then this wonderful director says, “You reverse. You reverse in the rain. With the wind shield wipers going on.”

And it was only then that you acknowledged and talked about your son as well. That’s right. But having, you know, what I like to do, is–because I’m a little bit musical.

What do you mean by that? I love music, and I was a musician for a little while when I was younger. I like symphonic structure, so a film could be like a symphony. But if you know while you’re performing the symphony what the closing notes are, you can adjust how you play all the other moves. You think, if I do it like this, those closing notes are going to sound even better. If I play this quick bit faster, the slow bit is going to sound even slower. So all the time I was aware that we were going to build up to a father and son relationship, so I tried to keep that sentimental side of him completely blocked.

You played the whole film with a straight face. Yes, until the cracks appeared and then the dam breaks.

Do you feel like the director thought about that in the same sense? As in, creating the plot by moving backwards from certain scenes? Did you vocalize that with each other? I do. And no, we had a very effortless way of communicating, quite brief. I always felt that she put the camera in the perfect place for what I and Jim were trying to do. Whenever you feel that the camera is in an odd place, you begin to question it because you’re like, “No the camera’s there, I’m not doing that, I’m doing that, so it should be there. Or it should be on my back, because I don’t want the audience to see my face.” But every time I was working with Kari, I felt that.

So, in terms of your character, did you have to put in a lot of research into the film’s story, or did you have a lot of trust in Kari and the script to guide you? A lot of trust in the script. And then once I had designed him and his interior, once I had designed and invented his back story, once I had decided that he was from the north of England, once I decided what part of north of England, what his parents did for a living etc, all of which took about five minutes.

Wow, really? Really. Because I’m from where he came from, because I know. But I never had that accent. He had quite a strong accent, but I do know those guys.

The IRA was a hot topic in the 90s. At this point in time, do you look at this movie as a historical film? I very much hope so. I don’t think that we’re going to go back to those days. It hasn’t really slipped back to anything at it’s worst. But still, in terms of the grayness of the area that it explores…

Which she documented so well. Yeah, because we perceive of the enemy as absolute evil, black and white. And it never is.

That’s right. And what I appreciated is that she did not depict any one side as extremely violent. That’s right. It’s the shady deals that are going on all the time, over glasses of whiskey in pubs. That’s what I find most terrifying, how you use people like pawns. You dump him and have him shot because you want to do a trade off with someone else, and that guy was working for him all time. Gosh, its so complex.

When you act in a role that’s been based on a novel, how do you typically deal with source material? Do you rely on the script to govern your character, or will you read the book? It depends. Because I was playing such a beautifully documented character in Gandhi, I really wanted to move and walk and look like him. So I read a lot and watched a lot of news coverage.

I think that worked in your favor. Yes. I have worn a yellow star in three holocaust films, and I still find the holocaust utterly incomprehensible, so I’m afraid I had to do it out of research. I had to watch the film footage, I had to read the books on the account, because I just found it utterly incomprehensible and unbelievable. I had to eventually realize, you know, you’re playing a tiny corner of a European catastrophe.

And what about Shutter Island, that was also based on the Dennis Lehane novel. Absolute intuition. Pure intuition. Although Marty was great about showing us films made—a documentary made in a mental institution at the time—and we all watched that. That was an enormous help.

This was your first time working with Scorcese. How would you describe it? Divine. Absolutely divine.

Everything you thought it would be and more? And more, yes. He is a champion of cinema. He is constantly fighting to redefine it, to refresh it, to keep it on track and yet keep it experimental and exciting. he is a true champion of world cinema, a gift.

I cannot wait to see that, the trailer is mouth watering. Yes, it’s in October I think.

You play very dynamic characters, it seems like your roles bounce back and forth between villain and hero. Well let’s go back to the symphony for a bit. I hear a piece of music, and it’s like the director saying, “You hear this piece of music?” And I say, “Yes, it’s fantastic, yes”, and he’ll say “I want you to be the drums in it.” Oh, great. And another one can be, “You hear this piece of music? I want you to be the violins in it.” Ok. Now the drums in it was me in Sexy Beast. That’s the percussion section. The violin section was me in Schindler’s List. As long as it’s perfectly integrated into the bigger picture, then it doesn’t matter whether I’m a villain, a goodie or a baddie, as long as I’m serving the story. Without that ingredient, you wouldn’t have the story. I always feel part of the bigger picture, not just one color. I’m aware of the orchestra around me.

You have two sons that are also actors? I do, I do. Edmond and Ferdinand. I have four children and my two youngest are actors.

So, Jim Sturgess said that he was slightly intimidated to work with you on this film. And you often work with young up and coming actors like Jim. Do you feel like being constantly exposed to your sons who are also actors allows you to relate to the younger, less experienced actors you work with. Yes, yes it does!

When people use the word intimidating to describe you, does that intimidate you? Yes actually, it probably lasts about thirty seconds, and then it’s gone.