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Sunday, June 24, 2007

Untitled

Posted By on Sun, Jun 24, 2007 at 9:00 AM

         

The New York Times has a story about the interesting history of the film "Evening" based on the novel by Susan Minot and starring just about everyone, including Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Toni Colette, Natasha Richardson, and Patrick Wilson.  As it goes, the film rights were secured by producer Jeff Sharp.  Minot was scheduled to pen the film script, but after several drafts, Sharp brought in Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize winning author of "The Hours" and he all but took over the script and aspect of the film (Cunningham serves as an Executive Producer).  He appeared on set daily whereas Ms. Minot visited only twice.  They are both credited with the script, but it is clear that she doesn't care for him much.  In fact, there's an ad in today's New York Times Book Review that says "Evening . . .From the author of "The Hours.""  That's quite misleading. 

I didn't have a problem with Michael Cunningham until recently.  His prior novels including "The Hours" and "A Home at the End of the World" were very good.  But when did he earn street cred as a screenwriter?  He had nothing to do with the Academy-Award nominated script for "The Hours."  By my count, only 500 people saw the film "A Home at the End of the World," for which he wrote the screenplay (the film starred Colin Farrell).  Cunningham's last novel "Specimen Days" was down right awful and was universally panned by critics. 

I'm anxious to see "Evening," but it's clear that the spirit of Ms. Minot's novel has been lost.  That happens, unfortunately.  Still, with this cast, I hope Lajos Koltai was able to make a fine film despite Mr. Cunningham's antics.

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