Stage to screen: 'Ides of March,' 'Carnage,' 'Killer Joe' and more
While plays and musicals have long served as inspiration for movies, the coming year features a bumper crop of high-profile titles and A-list talent. Venice Film Festival officials announced last week that George Clooney's “Ides of March,” based on Beau Willimon's play “Farragut North,” would be its 2011 opener; the New York Film Festival announced it will kick off with Roman Polanski's “Carnage,” adapted from Yasmina Reza's “God of Carnage.”
“The film world is always looking for great source material, and Broadway has traditionally and historically been a place to go. But I think we're at a moment in time when talent is traveling back and forth between film and theater more seamlessly,” said film and theater producer Marc Platt, who counts among his credits the Broadway blockbuster “Wicked.” “Many actors in films are willing to go to Broadway, and screenwriters are writing plays. It's almost commonplace.”
In addition, Platt says, “anything that has a brand to it is great — it doesn't just have to come from a comic book or graphic novel.”
Scheduled for the Toronto Film Festival is Tracy Letts’ “Killer Joe,” directed by William Friedkin and starring Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch. Steven Spielberg's film version of the Broadway play "War Horse" is set to open in December.
Among the many other plays scheduled for film treatment: David Lindsay-Abaire's Tony-nominated “Good People”; Moira Buffini's “A Vampire Story,” directed by Neil Jordan under the title “Byzantium”; Joe Hortua's “Between Us,” starring Taye Diggs and Julia Stiles; Shakespeare's “King Lear,” starring Al Pacino; a remake of “Les Misérables,” starring Hugh Jackman and directed by “The King's Speech's” Tom Hooper; and Terrence Rattigan's “Deep Blue Sea,” starring Rachel Weisz and Simon Russell Beale.
And what about “Wicked”? “ ‘Wicked' will be a movie. It's very, very, very early — we don't yet have a script or a director,” Platt says. “The process is beginning.”
Below are trailers for some of the upcoming films. And click on the photo above to see coming film adaptations of stage productions.
'The Ides of March'
-- Lisa Fung
Photo: Matthew McConaughey in "Killer Joe." Credit: Skip Bolen