Z the Beginning of Everything – Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby

I’m watching Z The Beginning of Everything at the moment and getting into the right mood by burning one of our Gatsby’s Garden Parties candles which smells just like the ocean breeze off Long Island, and thinking geez how did this guy ever get any writing done!

Our Candle of the Month for February is Amortentia! Harry Potter Inspired Candle

Our Candle of the Month for February is – AMORTENTIA – which as you know is the strongest love potion in the wizarding world and a natural choice for February.  Subscribers – your candle has already been dispatched and should be with you soon.  If you wish to order this candle, you can find it in the shop now or you might want to start a subscription so you can be the first to get your hands on each new candle of the month. ~💕 ~💕 ~💕 ~💕 #subscriptionbox #themedbox #valentinesday #amortentiacandle #harrypottercandle #candlebox #themebox #candleofthemonth #bookandcandle #literarycandle #bookmerch #etsyseller #etsyshop #candleaddict #candlegram #bookish #bookcandles #literarycandles #candle #soycandle #instabook #bookstagram #candlelover #bookloverscandles #bookishcandle #nerdgift #bookishgift #handmade #handmadeinScotland

A photo posted by Elle 🇺🇰 GoodBookHuntingStudio (@goodbookhuntingstudio) on

The Slap – Movies I’m excited about part 6

Ok so actually it’s not a movie, it will be an eight part TV series on ABC TV (Australia) but I loved the book and so I am really excited about it, more so than some of the book-to-movie offerings that are around this year.  I think anyone who read the book, will be really intrigued to see what this will be like.

the slap

Here’s some info:

The award-winning novel by Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap, is being developed into a television series by ABC TV andMatchbox Pictures. Development of the eight-part series will begin next month in Melbourne, with production to start in 2011. The novel centres around the repercussions that occur amongst a group of friends after a man slaps a child at a barbeque.

ABC TV’s Acting Head of Drama, Amanda Higgs, says the drama will resonate with audiences. “The Australian novel that provoked fiery discussion from offices to dinner parties to mothers’ groups and suburban barbeques will become the most talked about series on television.  It is terrific to be collaborating with our partners at Matchbox Pictures.”

the slapChristos Tsiolkas says “The ABC has always felt like the natural home for The Slap. It’s an opportunity to develop a ground-breaking piece of television that embodies a rawness and a diversity that we haven’t seen on our screens before. I am particularly excited by the calibre of the writers and the producers on this project, some of the most exciting talents working at present in our film and screen culture.”

This year, The Slap has won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize, the Australian Book Industry Book of the Year award, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award, the ABA Book of the Year and the Association for the Study of Australian Literature Gold Award.

I’m really interested to see how this will turn out, not to mention how they will handle the language!!!

One of the writers is Brendan Cowell so it is going to be good, and Alex Dimitriades (narrator of the audiobook!) will play Harry and Jonathan LaPaglia (brother of Anthony) will play Hector!  Geez I can’t wait to see what he does with that role, I just can’t picture him as Hector at all.  The Slap is scheduled to start in August ie next month!!!!!!!!



Lark Rise to Candleford writer to adapt Zola novel for BBC1

Series based on The Ladies Paradise tells story of a young girl in 1890s working in department store after death of her father

The writer of Lark Rise to Candleford is to return to BBC1 with a new series based on French novelist Emile Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise, a rags to riches story about a young girl in the 1890s.

Bill Gallagher’s adaptation of Flora Thompson’s memoir of her Oxfordshire childhood into the series Lark Rise to Candleford has proved a hit with BBC1’s Sunday night audience.

His reworking of Zola’s novel will focus on the adventures of a young girl who falls in love with the intoxicating charms of the modern world while working in the glamorous world of the first ever department store in a booming northern city.

“This project has been close to my heart for a long time and I’m thrilled to be making it with the BBC,” said Gallagher. “The Ladies’ Paradise is set at exactly the same time as Lark Rise – but now we’re in the city, at a time of great change and upheaval, so the series is exciting and constantly dramatic.”.

He added that in a similar vein to Lark Rise the series will “explore the lives of a colourful cast of characters struggling to survive and flourish in difficult and dangerous times”.

The series will centre on the character of Denise who goes to work as a shop girl after being made homeless by the death of her father. She soon discovers a world of intrigues, affairs and shopfloor power struggles.

Ben Stephenson, controller of commissioning for BBC drama, described it as a “a romantic, thrilling and sexy post-watershed relationship drama”.

The show will be made by BBC Drama Productions and will air in 2013. The number of episodes is yet to be finalised.

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BBC Year of Books (book to movie and TV)

The Crimson Petal and the White

I came across this on the BBC’s website a couple of weeks ago (World Book Night) and it just keeps getting better and better!

Basically they are featuring a lot of book related programming this year – hurrah! on both their tv channels and radio stations.

I already got all excited about The Crimson Petal and the White, but here’s a list of some of the other things I’m looking forward to:

(all details of all programs can be found here)

From the BBC site…

This year the BBC will be celebrating books, in all their forms, by inviting audiences to free their imagination through the exploration, enjoyment and discussion of Books On The BBC.

As the biggest producer of books programming, the BBC has chosen 2011 to highlight and celebrate our related programming, from established literary strands to new documentaries, series and dramas.

Highlights of Books On The BBC include: book-related documentaries presented by personalities such as Melvyn Bragg, Sue Perkins, Sebastian Faulks and Stephen Fry; coverage of the key moments in the literary year, from the Booker Prize and Samuel Johnson Prize to the newly inaugurated World Book Night on 5 March with an evening of BBC Two programming dedicated to the biggest ever book giveaway; debate and opinion with a new monthly book debate show as part of The Review Show on BBC Two; numerous Open Book specials on BBC Radio 4; and, on BBC One, Anne Robinson will host a two-week long investigation into the part books have played in the lives of well-known figures.

Literary adaptations will be plentiful from Wuthering Heights on BBC Radio 3 to The Moonstone on Radio 4, The Crimson Petal And The White on BBC Two to Women In Love on BBC Four.

There will also be a pan-BBC Dickens season at the end of the year heralding the Dickens 2012 celebrations.

The Crimson Petal And The White

“If you dare enter this world,” declares Sugar, the heroine of Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal And The White, “you had better tread carefully.”

Romola Garai, Chris O’Dowd, Gillian Anderson, Richard E Grant, Shirley Henderson, Amanda Hale and Mark Gatiss star in this four-part tale of love, lust, desire and revenge, adapted from Faber’s international best-selling novel.

Revealing the true underbelly of Victorian life in a way never before seen on screen, The Crimson Petal And The White is a bold and original new serial, adapted by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Lucinda Coxon and directed by Marc Munden.

Evocative and sexually charged, this provocative and riveting emotional tale takes viewers into a hidden world seething with vitality, sexuality, ambition and emotion in which a young prostitute and a prominent businessman embark on a dangerous relationship with epic consequences.

Case Histories

Set in contemporary Edinburgh, this six-part drama is adapted from Kate Atkinson’s best-selling books about private investigator Jackson Brodie.

Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The Patriot) takes the lead role in these intriguing, moving and funny character-driven stories which conjure up a richly imagined world in which Brodie attempts to bring resolution to the victims of unexplained mysteries and comfort to the survivors of personal tragedies.

The ultimate survivor, he is a bruised optimist compelled to help others.

Case Histories is not just about solving crimes, it’s about solving the mysteries behind people’s lives.


BBC One presents a two-part adaptation of the classic novel by Sebastian Faulks.

A truly epic drama, Birdsong tells the story of Stephen and Isabelle, who are brought together by love and torn apart by the First World War.

This extraordinary tale of love, loss, heroism and hope is brought to screen by award-winning writer Abi Morgan.

Sebastian Faulks is the presenter of a major series examining novels through their characters, Faulks On Fiction.

The Night Watch

Set against the turbulent backdrop of Forties London, The Night Watch tells the stories of four young Londoners inextricably linked by their wartime experiences.

In a time when the barriers of sexual morality and social convention have been broken down, Kay, Helen, Viv and Duncan enjoy a new freedom as they engage in secret liaisons and passionate trysts.

Anna Maxwell Martin, Claire Foy, Jodie Whittaker, and Harry Treadaway star in this tragic and tender adaptation of Sarah Waters’s best-selling novel, adapted by award-winning British writer Paula Milne.

Moving back in time to the maelstrom of the Blitz, the lives, loves and losses of these four central characters are unravelled. But, for them, the post-war victory is bitter sweet, for it returns them to the margins of society from which they hoped they had been liberated.

To build their future, they must each make peace with their past.

Great Expectations

Sarah Phelps’s (Oliver Twist, EastEnders) bold new three-part adaptation presents the heart and grit of Charles Dickens at his very best.

Suspenseful and thrilling, this visceral retelling captures the romance and warmth of the classic to mark Dickens’s bicentenary, especially for Christmas 2011 on BBC One.

Great Expectations forms part of the BBC’s focus on Dickens at the end of the year

Women In Love (was on last week and week before but still on iplayer)

Rosamund Pike, Rachael Stirling, Rory Kinnear and Joseph Mawle star in Women In Love, a compelling new two-part drama by William Ivory (Faith, A Thing Called Love, Common As Muck).

Based on two novels by DH Lawrence – The Rainbow and Women In Love – which Lawrence originally intended to publish as one, Ivory has melded the books together in line with the author’s original vision as part of BBC Four’s new Modern Love Season.

Women In Love charts the lives and loves of two sisters, Ursula (Stirling) and Gudrun Brangwen (Pike), viewed chiefly through their relationships with two friends Rupert Birkin (Kinnear) and Gerald Crich (Mawle). As the two relationships intensify the couples leave the Midlands and go abroad together, leading to conflict and tragedy.

The cast also includes Saskia Reeves as Ursula and Gudrun’s mother, Anna; Ben Daniels as Anna’s husband Will; and Olivia Grant as Hermione.

BBC Four’s new Modern Love Season, exploring love and sexuality in 20th-century literature, will also include Amanda Coe’s adaptation of John Braine’s novel Room At The Top.

The Edge Of Love

Award-winning BBC Films presents premières of The Edge Of Love, a portrait of Dylan Thomas and the women in his life, and Brideshead Revisited, based on Evelyn Waugh’s acclaimed novel. The UK television premières are part of BBC Two’s commitment to be the principal home for BBC Films, the film-making arm of the BBC.

Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy and Matthew Rhys star in this extraordinary portrait of Dylan Thomas and the women in his life by John Maybury, the acclaimed director of Love Is The Devil.

In this intimate tale of sex and betrayal in war-torn Britain, four lives are thrust together with heart-breaking results.

Brideshead Revisited

Award-winning BBC Films presents premières of The Edge Of Love, a portrait of Dylan Thomas and the women in his life, and Brideshead Revisited, based on Evelyn Waugh’s acclaimed novel. The UK television premières are part of BBC Two’s commitment to be the principal home for BBC Films, the film-making arm of the BBC.

Matthew Goode, Anna Madeley and Hayley Atwell star in this adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s classic tale of forbidden love and the loss of innocence in Twenties England.

When Charles Ryder goes up to Oxford, he leaves behind a modest background and joins the flamboyant social world of Sebastian Flyte and his aristocratic Catholic family.

Captivated immediately by the opulent grandeur of Brideshead, the Flytes’ ancestral home, Charles’s attentions settle on Sebastian’s beautiful sister, Lady Julia. The passions between these three play out to devastating effect, as Lady Marchmain attempts to protect her family’s religious integrity.

Presented by Miramax Films, the UK Film Council, HanWay Films and BBC Films in association with 2 Entertain and Screen Yorkshire.

Drama On 3 – Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë

Jonathan Holloway adapts one of literature’s most disturbing explorations of the dark side of romantic passion.

Classic Serial – The Moonstone

Eleanor Bron plays Lady Verinder and Kenneth Cranham plays Sergeant Cuff in Doug Lucie’s four-part dramatisation of Wilkie Collins’s detective masterpiece from 1868.

Described by TS Eliot as the first and best of English Detective novels, The Moonstone, involves a huge diamond stolen from the forehead of an Indian deity, plundered in a siege and finally given to Rachel Verinder on her 18th birthday. It is said to carry a curse and mysteriously disappears on the night of the celebrations.

Are the Indian jugglers who were at the house earlier to blame? Why are they hanging around the property with a little boy they seem able to hypnotise? When the local police get nowhere, one of the new detective police is called for from London, and quickly finds a clue, but what does it tell him?

Has the curse of the Moonstone brought with it suspicion and superstition to poison the happy Verinder household on the Yorkshire coast?

Imagine – The Trouble With Tolstoy

The centenary of Leo Tolstoy’s death last year was marked around the world. Now Alan Yentob investigates why he thinks there was a deafening silence in official Russian circles.

This two-part Imagine special looks into the life of the venerable novelist, a difficult, restless, ferociously brilliant man with an appetite for causing trouble with his fundamentalist views on God, violence and government.

Guided by the writer’s astonishingly honest and confessional diaries, Alan takes a train journey through Tolstoy’s Russia to bring one of the most extraordinary and influential men of the 19th century to life, discovering what made him perhaps the greatest novelist of his time and how he turned his back on that achievement.

Visiting the author’s home, university, battlefields, palaces, monasteries, grand cities and remote, rural Russia, Alan meets local experts and Tolstoy enthusiasts to hear a powerfully Russian version of the great man’s story. His journey is complemented by contributions from some of the leading Tolstoy experts from around the world as well as extraordinary film footage of the grand old man himself.

Throughout his life Tolstoy was fearlessly contrarian and fiercely determined to go his own way. He challenged everything in his pursuit of truth. These films explore this compulsion and how it made Tolstoy into a writer of unequalled stature and continues to make him unpopular in some quarters today.

Hilary Mantel – A Culture Show Special

The Culture Show gains exclusive access to the life and work of Hilary Mantel as she writes The Mirror And The Light, the sequel to her Booker prize-winning novel Wolf Hall.

Mantel’s extraordinarily wide range of work stretches from childhood memoir to Irish giants; from the influence of the Roman Catholic Church to the growth of fundamentalism in Saudi Arabia and from the French Revolution to the Tudor court of Henry VIII.

Writer and film-maker James Runcie takes Hilary back to her childhood home and to visit the places that have inspired her.

He talks to her about the illness that has plagued her life, the ghosts from her past, the process of writing historical fiction, sex, jokes, life, death and the emotional cost of making things up for a living.

Intimate, exclusive and unpredictable, this Culture Show Special, which will be shown in the summer of 2011, is a revealing portrait of one of the bravest and most brilliant writers working in the world today.

Secrets Of The Arabian Nights

Richard E Grant re-opens one of his favourite children’s books, The 1001 Arabian Nights, to explore its extraordinary impact on Western culture.

Journeying to Cairo, and the desert wildernesses beyond, he searches for the world that led to the creation of the Arabian Nights.

The stories first arrived in the West 300 years ago, translated from a 14th-century Syrian manuscript by the French orientalist Antoine Galland.

Overnight the tales became a huge hit in every European country. Readers were fascinated by the central character, Sharazade, who each night recounted stories of princes, genies, demons and robbers, to her husband the King in a desperate bid to avoid execution.

Richard visits Galland’s original manuscripts in Paris and explores how the stories inspired hit shows on the 18th-century stage in London. Three of the stories, Sinbad, Ali Baba and Aladdin, have inspired countless plays, pantomimes and films as well as becoming part of the literary canon for children and adults alike.

However, during Richard’s journey he also discovers that the tales are shrouded in controversy, including calls for a ban on The 1001 Arabian Nights in some parts of the world today.

The Beauty Of Books

From philosophy, religion, art, science, politics and the rise of ideologies all the way through to fantastical fictions, books have enabled new ideas to reach eager audiences across the globe.

However, they are not simply conveyors of story, knowledge and belief. Some of the most important books in the world are also stunningly beautiful, iconic masterpieces in their own right. Just as you don’t judge a book by its cover alone, you don’t judge a book by its story alone – the outer and inner make up the whole.

From the first bibles to medieval masterpieces like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, and from children’s stories such as Alice In Wonderland to the beauty of the humble paperback, this series combines human stories, expert interviews, book illustrations and historic archive, to reveal the astonishing, the absorbing, the arresting, beauty of books.

Fry’s Planet Word

Stephen Fry explores linguistic achievements and how our skills for the spoken word have developed in a new five-part series for BBC Two.

In Planet Word, Stephen dissects language in all its guises with his inimitable mixture of learning, love of lexicon and humour.

He analyses how we use and abuse language and asks whether we are beginning to understand the complexities of its DNA.

From the time when man first mastered speech to the cyber world of modern times with its html codes and texting, Planet Word takes viewers on a journey across the globe to discover just how far humans have come when it comes to the written and spoken word.

Faulks On Fiction (already broadcast, book and audiobook have been published to accompany the series)

Author Sebastian Faulks gets to the heart of the British novel through its characters, in a new four-part series for BBC Two.

Faulks On Fiction explores the heroes, lovers, snobs and villains in classics such as Robinson Crusoe, Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, Lord Of The Flies and The End Of The Affair.

Written and presented by Sebastian, the series tells the story of how the British novel made us who we are and features characters including Fagin from Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist, Mr Darcy from Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice, Chanu from Monica Ali’s Brick Lane and Jim Dixon from Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim.

Christmas Book-to-Movie: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Our book-to-movie selection this month is A Christmas Carol; in particular the version with Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge.  I’m sure you all know the basic story but here’s some information about this version:

In the Victorian period, Ebenezer Scrooge is a skinflint businessman who loathes the Christmas season and begrudges having to give time off to his best employee, Bob Cratchit. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late friend and business partner, Jacob Marley, who in the afterlife has come to see the errors of his ways. Marley arranges for Scrooge to be visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come in hopes of teaching Scrooge of the importance of embracing the joy of the holiday season. Scrooge reforms, learning to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in his heart, ultimately becoming a well-loved and respected man.

Patrick Stewart – Ebenezer Scrooge
Richard E. Grant – Bob Cratchit
Joel Grey – Ghost of Christmas Past
Ian McNeice – Albert Fezziwig
Saskia Reeves – Mrs. Cratchit
Desmond Barrit – Ghost of Christmas Present
Bernard Lloyd – Jacob Marley
Dominic West – Fred
Trevor Peacock – Old Joe
Liz Smith – Mrs. Dilber
Elizabeth Spriggs – Mrs. Riggs
Kenny Doughty – Young Ebenezer Scrooge
Laura Fraser – Belle
Celia Imrie – Mrs. Bennett
Claire Slater – Martha Cratchit
Tim Potter – Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come

An adaptation of Charles Dickens famous novel A Christmas Carol.

Join us to watch and discuss this Christmas movie

click here to buy this book

Book-to-Movie – October 2010

Our Book-to-Movie member choice this month is P.S. I Love You based on the book of the same name by Cecelia Ahern.  If you want to join us in discussing the book, the movie, or both, then grab a copy of the DVD and visit the discussion thread (you will have to be logged into the forum to see this thread)


P.S. I Love You, based on the Cecilia Ahern novel of the same name, tells the story of a young widow who discovers that her late husband has left her 10 messages intended to help ease her pain and start a new life.

Hilary Swank as Holly Kennedy
Gerard Butler as Gerry Kennedy
Lisa Kudrow as Denise Hennessey
Gina Gershon as Sharon McCarthy
James Marsters as John McCarthy
Kathy Bates as Patricia Reilly
Harry Connick Jr. as Daniel Connelly
Jeffrey Dean Morgan as William Gallagher
Nellie McKay as Ciara Reilly

Based on the novel by Cecelia Ahern

Book-to-Movie – September

We have a great movie in our Book-to-Movie club this month.  The Last of the Mohicans.  Details are below and discussion can be found in this board (you will have to be logged into the forum to access this board)

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
a Michael Mann film
based on novel by James Fenimore Cooper

Daniel Day-Lewis – Hawkeye/Nathaniel Poe
Madeleine Stowe – Cora Munro
Russell Means – Chingachgook
Eric Schweig – Uncas

Cora (Madeleine Stowe) and her younger sister, Alice (Jodhi May), both recent arrivals to the colonies, are being escorted to their father, Colonel Munro (Maurice Roeves), by a troop of British soldiers. Along the way they are ambushed by a Huron war party led by Magua (Wes Studi), a sinister warrior with a blood vendetta against Munro. Munro’s soldiers are wiped out and Cora herself is nearly killed by Magua but is saved at the last moment by Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), a white trapper raised by the Mohican tribe. Hawkeye promises to take Cora and her sister safely to their father, and along the way Cora and the intense Hawkeye fall in love. Together they must survive wilderness, war, and the relentless pursuit of Magua.
Returning to the theme of a great love threatened by overwhelming circumstances, director Michael Mann hits the mark with an adaptation that captures the essence of the book and its historical details perfectly. Day-Lewis and Stowe are beautiful to watch, delivering moving performances as two people trying to hold on to each other in times of war. In addition, the Native American political activist Russell Means makes an oustanding film debut as Chingachgook, Hawkeye’s adopted father and last of the Mohicans.

Novel/Films, from wiki:
A number of films have been based on the lengthy book, with numerous cuts, compressions, and distortions occurring in the story. The American adaptations include The Last of the Mohicans (1920), starring Wallace Beery; The Last of the Mohicans (1932), starring Harry Carey; The Last of the Mohicans (1936) starring Randolph Scott; Last of the Mohicans (1963) starring Jack Taylor. Jose Marco, Luis Induni and Daniel Martin; and The Last of the Mohicans (1992), starring Daniel Day-Lewis. The 1920 film has been deemed “culturally significant” by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. The 1992 version, directed by Michael Mann, was (according to Mann) based more on the 1936 film version than on Cooper’s book. Many of the scenes from the 1992 movie did not follow the book; in particular, some characters who survive the events of the novel die in the film, and vice versa. For example, Colonel Munro, killed in the film by Magua during the evacuation of Fort William Henry, lives on in the novel and helps search for his daughters. Hawkeye, not Chingachgook, kills Magua as shown in the film. The usual deletions from cinematic versions of The Last of the Mohicans are the extensive sections about the Indians themselves, thus confounding Cooper’s purpose. Further, romantic relationships, non-existent or minimal in the novel, are generated between the principal characters, and the roles of some characters are reversed or altered, as are the events.

Book-to-Movie – August

We have two movies for you this month since they both had the most votes on the poll.  The first is The Road, based on the book by Cormac McCarthy, and the second is The Count of Monte Cristo, based on the book by Alexandre Dumas.  For the discussion, we will be watching the James Caviezel/Guy Pearce version of The Count of Monte Cristo.  If you want to join us, you can find the discussions in this board (you will have to be logged into the forum to access this board)


The Road

A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind and water. It is cold enough to crack stones, and, when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the warmer south, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing: just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless cannibalistic bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a rusting shopping cart of scavenged food–and each other.

Viggo Mortensen …Man
Kodi Smit-McPhee …Boy
Robert Duvall …Old Man
Guy Pearce …Veteran
Molly Parker …Motherly Woman
Michael K. Williams …Thief
Charlize Theron …Woman

The Count of Monte Cristo

‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ is a remake of the Alexander Dumas tale by the same name. Dantes, a sailor who is falsely accused of treason by his best friend Fernand, who wants Dantes’ girlfriend Mercedes for himself. Dantes is imprisoned on the island prison of Chateau d’If for 14 years, where he plots revenge against those who betrayed him. With the help of another prisoner, he escapes the island and proceeds to transform himself into the wealthy Count of Monte Cristo as part of his plan to exact revenge.’

James Caviezel as Edmond Dantès
Guy Pearce as Fernand Mondego
Richard Harris as Abbé Faria
Luis Guzmán as Jacopo
James Frain as J.F. Villefort
Dagmara Dominczyk as Mercedès Iguanada
Michael Wincott as Armand Dorleac
Christopher Adamson as Maurice
J. B. Blanc as Luigi Vampa
Alex Norton as Napoléon
Henry Cavill as Albert Mondego

Let Joss Whedon direct The Avengers | Ben Child

Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Joss Whedon knows his comic books and has a sense of humour – just what the director of The Avengers will need

It’s the news every fanboy has been wanting to hear: Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly, is reportedly on the shortlist to direct the forthcoming Avengers movie, the Marvel studio venture which aims to unite the publisher’s best-known characters in a colourful clash of superhero might. Reports on iesb.net say that Whedon is vying with the likes of The Incredible Hulk director Louis Leterrier and other candidates for the chance to bring the highly anticipated ensemble superhero flick to the big screen.

There are myriad reasons why appointing Whedon to take on the movie would be a very, very good idea. Firstly, he’s a comic book geek who probably knows more about the characters – most likely Iron Man, Thor, The Incredible Hulk and Ant-Man – than any other mainstream film-maker on the planet. He’s written some of the best Marvel comic book material in the past few years in the shape of his foray into the X-Men universe, Astonishing X-Men, and was even set to bring DC’s Wonder Woman to the big screen a few years ago.

Secondly, Whedon has a sense of humour, and God knows, The Avengers is going to need that. The film needs to follow Iron Man’s breezy, bombastic tone while avoiding too much camp: never an easy task when dealing with multiple multicoloured superhuman types in shiny costumes. It must avoid the brooding tedium of the two Hulk movies, yet maintain a sense of tension: whoever takes this on will have to ground this fantastical set of characters in some sort of believable reality, and do it without hamstringing them. It’s a spectacularly tough task, and an even harder one in the wake of Matthew Vaughn’s revelatory Kick-Ass, which is going to make a number of future superhero efforts look drastically earnest and horribly dated.

Third and finally, Whedon deserves a proper directing gig. He may be best known for his writing work, but this is a film-maker capable of balancing exciting action sequences with cool dialogue and strong characterisation: just watch Serenity, his full-length follow up to sci-fi series Firefly – probably the finest space opera film since The Empire Strikes Back, if you need convincing. The Cabin in the Woods, his forthcoming self-penned horror movie, looks like a fascinating postmodern take on the Evil Dead mode, but Whedon really sings when he’s given the chance to take mainstream fare and put an unconventional spin on it: this is the guy who co-wrote Speed, lest we forget. He also pitched himself as the man to save Terminator last year – what an interesting proposition that would have been. Marvel should let him fiddle with the screenplay too, while they’re at it.

Personally, I would avoid plumping for Leterrier, the latest graduate of the Luc Besson school of hacks (see also Pierre Morel). No doubt the success of Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans remake, which arrives in cinemas this weekend, will determine the Frenchman’s chances, but a more considered guiding hand is surely required. A Leterrier Avengers would tick all the right boxes and look decent enough, but the film needs those little touches of class that only a Whedon-type can deliver if it is to open up the golden age of comic book movies that Marvel desperately wants. The publisher-turned-ministudio hopes to cross-pollinate its characters on film in the same way it does on the page, but as Sam Raimi found out to his cost with the ill-fated Spider-Man 3, too much Spandex tends to spoil the superhero soup.

Do you agree that a Whedon Avengers might be the only way to stop The Avengers going the same way as the Fantastic Four? Or would you plump for a more orthodox director?

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Jane Goldman: much more than just Jonathan Ross’s wife | Deborah Orr

The scriptwriter of Kick-Ass and now a new film, the Debt, is clearly a considerable talent

Would one even be aware that Jane Goldman had co-scripted the new film Kick-Ass, were it not for her marriage to Jonathan Ross? First, much was made of the use of bad language in the film, with pointed reference to Ross’s own enthusiastic swearing, as if the source of all bad words might be found at the couple’s home in London. And second, much was made of Goldman’s apparel at the film’s UK premiere: a very low-cut dress revealing what Gok Wan would term “giant puppies”, that was ogled with somewhat confusing amazement by her spouse of 22 years. Surely he had noticed before?

The couple’s romantic history is well known: Goldman had a crush on Ross when she was an immensely precocious 16-year-old newspaper columnist. The legend states that sheer tenacity propelled her up the aisle at 18, up-and-coming TV presenter bagged. Yet if the leisurely life of a cosseted wife had been Goldman’s objective, she had a funny way of showing it. She carried on working, not off the back of her husband’s high profile but as a staff- writer on a computer games magazine. The quick arrival of three children was not converted into nannies-and-lunch, either; Goldman started writing books, mining what people would dismiss as kitsch culture aimed squarely at the teenage-boy market.

And while it could be argued that Goldman’s minor and decorative contribution to Kick-Ass is primarily connected to Ross and free publicity, another film, The Debt (not yet released), confirms this is most likely wishful thinking of a spiteful and negative sort. For those involved assert that, while Goldman again shares the script credit, it is largely her own creation.

The Debt is certainly a departure, about the long psychological shadow cast by a Mossad assassination conducted in 1965, and stars Helen Mirren. It is an intelligent, politically astute and complex thriller, owing much to the easily discerned fact that a lot of hard work was put in at the script- writing stage, rather than in the editing suite (as is, sadly, more common in the business at present).

The only sane conclusion is that, at 39, Goldman is a very considerable talent, with a future in the film industry a lot bigger than her breasts. Even.

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