June 29, 2011


French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet hasn’t directed an English-language film since 1997’s Alien: Resurrection, but he may give it another shot by adapting Reif Larson’s debut novel The Selected Works of T.S. SpivetVariety reports that Jeunet plans to make Spivet his next movie and that he is currently writing the screenplay with his Amelie co-writer Guillaume Laurant.  Per Variety, Spivet “tells the story of a 12-year-old cartographer’s cross-country adventure from Montana to the Smithsonian Museum. Project fits into Jeunet’s body of work as it explores the imaginative mind of a child, mixing realism and fantasy.”

Jeunet has also picked up the screen rights to Thomas H. Cook’s novel Red Leaves, although it’s unknown if the adaptation would also be in English.  Red Leaves is a markedly darker tale than Spivet and “centers around the crumbling life of a father of a 15-year old boy accused of kidnapping an 8-year old.”  While Jeunet at times struggles with story and can get lost in quirk, his visual flair is undeniable and hopefully he’ll be able to balance it with a compelling narrative.  Hit the jump for synopses of both novels.

selected-works-ts-spivet-book-cover-01Here’s the synopsis for The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet:

A boundary-leaping debut tracing a gifted young map maker’s attempt to understand the ways of the world

When twelve-year-old genius cartographer T. S. Spivet receives an unexpected phone call from the Smithsonian announcing he has won the prestigious Baird Award, life as normal-if you consider mapping dinner table conversations normal-is interrupted and a wild cross-country adventure begins, taking T. S. from his family home just north of Divide, Montana, to the museum’s hallowed halls.

There are some answers here on the road from Divide, and some new questions, too. How does one map the delicate lessons learned about family, or communicate the ebbs and flows of heartbreak, loneliness, and love? [Amazon]

And here’s the synopsis for Red Leaves:

Eric Moore has a prosperous business, a comfortable home, a stable family life in a quiet town. Then, on an ordinary night, his teenage son Keith babysits Amy Giordano, the eight-year-old daughter of a neighboring family. The next morning Amy is missing, and Eric isn’t sure his son is innocent.

In his desperate attempt to hold his family together by proving his-and the community’s-suspicions wrong, Eric finds himself in a vortex of doubt and broken trust. What should he make of Keith’s strange behavior? Of his wife’s furtive phone calls to a colleague? Of his brother’s hints that he knows things he’s afraid to say?

In a “heart-wrenching and gut-wrenching” (New York Daily News) race against time and mistrust, Eric must discover what has happened to Amy Giordano and face the long-buried family secrets he has so carefully ignored. [Amazon]

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