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The Great Divorce


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#21 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 11:32 AM

Producers wed for 'Divorce' fantasy
Mpower Pictures ("The Stoning of Soraya M.") and Beloved Pictures are teaming to co-produce C.S. Lewis' fantasy novel "The Great Divorce."
Veteran producer and Mpower CEO Steve McEveety will lead the production team. Childrens' book author N.D. Wilson ("Leepike Ridge," "100 Cupboards") is attached to write.
Lewis, who wrote the "Chronicles of Narnia" books and often wove Christian themes into his works, published "The Great Divorce" in 1945. Story centers on a man who learns that the sprawling, dim metropolis where he's been living is actually Hell; he hops on a bus headed for the outskirts of Elsewhere, only to discover that the one place worse than Hell, for a self-absorbed ad executive, just might be Heaven.
Mpower was created by McEveety in 2007 after he'd been a longtime exec at Mel Gibson's Icon Prods. He produced "The Passion of the Christ" and "We Were Soldiers" and exec produced "Braveheart" and "What Women Want." . . .
Variety, June 22

#22 J.A.A. Purves

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 12:37 PM

It's a story. Sort of a Divine Comedy, a tour through a world gone berzerk. Ken Wales has been talking to me about his dream to produce this film for years and has called me to brainstorm on it a couple of times. I wonder if he's involved with this. I would assume he is. For a while, he was saying that it might be adapted into something like a Bruce Almighty-style comedy.

The best hope the film has is to be made by people who love the book. As a modern adaptation, I'm guessing we lose George MacDonald from the story right? I wish there was some way of keeping him.

At this point, I guess there's just no way of knowing. Unlike other Hollywood film ideas that are guaranteed wastes of time from the moment of production, this has the potential to be a great film, and it also has the potential to be worthless, except in, you know, Screwtape's eyes (because, if they mess it up, it will guarantee that anyone who watches the film will never ever read the book).

I'm guessing there'd be no way for Terence Malick and Tim Burton to co-direct this thing together?

#23 SDG

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 01:10 PM

I'm guessing there'd be no way for Terence Malick and Tim Burton to co-direct this thing together?

That is a beautiful sentence. In many ways.

#24 mrmando

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:12 PM

I guess someone should mention the recent George Drance stage adaptation. I had my doubts as to whether it would work on stage, but I was pleasantly surprised ... even if the recent Taproot production left some of the story's theatrical potential untapped, as this reviewer points out (and while I agree with him that there was room for improvement, I think he's much too harsh). Anyway, methinks that with this story, a stage adaptation is a more difficult stunt than a screenplay, so I do not doubt the story's cinematic potential. It is a sad irony, however, that directors known for the kind of visuals this story would need (Tim Burton, Terry Gilliam, Peter Jackson) are not necessarily also known for their fidelity to the storylines in their source material.

#25 Rachel Anne

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:23 PM

If you're going to make a movie from this, take liberties. Take lots of liberties. I like the book, but I like it as a book. I can't see that a straight adaptation would make an interesting movie: it is highly episodic and is dominated by long expository speeches.

#26 mrmando

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:32 PM

Well, we've seen what happens when filmmakers who don't understand Lewis take liberties with him ...

Edited by mrmando, 22 June 2010 - 05:33 PM.


#27 Rachel Anne

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 08:04 PM

Well, we've seen what happens when filmmakers who don't understand Lewis take liberties with him ...


I wouldn't advise that a filmmaker who didn't understand him make it in any case. My point is just that the book ain't ready-made material for a movie. It would take a lot of work to make a movie script out of it even by the best-intentioned and most talented of filmmakers.

#28 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 02:50 PM

Childrens' book author N.D. Wilson ("Leepike Ridge," "100 Cupboards") is attached to write.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I just checked out Wilson's website, and then I checked out his page at Amazon.com, and I suddenly realized something: N.D. Wilson is identical to Nathan D. Wilson, the author of the Left Behind spoof Right Behind: A Parody of Last Days Goofiness. He also wrote the essay 'Father Brown Fakes the Shroud' for Books & Culture five years ago; I don't remember the article very well, but I do remember that it caught my eye at the time.

Oh, and Beloved Pictures just announced that they're turning one of Wilson's books into a film, too.

Interesting, interesting.

#29 Overstreet

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 03:06 PM

He's also the son of pastor, writer, blogger Douglas Wilson.

#30 Evan Day

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:21 PM

I'm quite excited to hear the N.D. Wilson is involved in this! I made sure Leepike Ridge got into our children's library, it's a fine piece of intelligent writing for young people. Plus I'm fairly certain he "gets" Lewis.

The Great Divorce is pretty much my favorite book ever, so I'm both anxious and hopeful at the prospect of it being made into a movie. This gives me hope.

As a side note, the Great Divorce has been adapted for a concept album by independent artist Phil Woodward. Obligatory promotional link, where you can listen to it for free.

#31 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 08:33 PM

FWIW, I e-mailed Cunningham to ask whether he was still attached to direct this project (the Variety article didn't mention him), and he replied: "My involvement right now is as a friend to the project." So, not quite a yes, not quite a no -- and even, in its own way, not quite a maybe? (I'm thinking here of how Sam Mendes was said to be "consulting" on Bond 23 without technically being signed to direct it yet, because if he HAD signed any contracts to that effect, it would have obliged the producers to do a certain number of things.)