Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Twilight trailer...

I'm not as obsessed as a lot of people but I'm definitely intrigued about how this movie will compare to the books. If Harry Potter is any indication, this could be a huge film followed by other books-to- movies in the series. Every book is super well written and suspenseful. I think the author, Stephanie Meyer, could have easily made six books out of the three she has out now. They are all looooooooonnnnnggggg. The newest novel will be out on August 2nd and I know more than a few adults who will be standing on line at 12:01 eager to see how Bella and Edward's love story ends.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown

Janelle Brown is a wonderful and promising novelist. All the glowing reviews about her book ring true. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is the story of Janice Miller, a scorned wife whose husband runs off with her best friend when he makes millions of dollars. Its about Maggie the older daughter who is trying to save her failing feminist magazine and is in debt so deep that she hides from her creditors, and Lizzie, a fourteen year old who has spun a sticky web of boys and sex.

While the book is not comedic, there were some sentences that made me laugh at loud. Janice, Maggie and Lizzie are at three different stages in their lives, each with her own terrible secret. I could not put this book down and with all good books, I mourned when it ended. I'm so excited to bring you an interview with this talented author.

If you had to cast roles for the feature film which will happen, who would play Janice, Maggie and Lizzie? I'm casting Diane Lane as Janice because she is one of my favorite actresses. Maggie and Lizze have me stumped though.

I like Diane Lane a lot too, though she's a wee bit young for Janice – who's almost 50. Joan Allen is very echt-Janice, too: gracious and charming but a little distant and tightly wound.I've always envisioned a Maggie Gyllenhaal-type for Margaret, and for Lizzie, I always think of Abigail Breslin's character from Little Miss Sunshine, but six years later….

How long did it take you to write the book and find an agent?

I started the book in the fall of 2003. By the summer of 2006 I had a draft that I was finally ready to show agents; it took me about four months to find the agent that I signed with. And then, once I'd signed with her, I spent another six months doing revisions before we sent it out to editors. So, all told, the version that you see today took about four years of writing.

The character of Paul, the husband, is not very sympathetic. Did you want the reader to like him at all?

I think it's a function of being an author that you always have more empathy for your characters than a reader would – I've spent the last five years with these characters, and so I care for them all even in their flaws. That said, Paul is a real self-centered jerk, most concerned with his own best interests, and I certainly don't expect people to like him; but what I do hope is that they are able to understand how he thinks. I've encountered people like him in the real world, and I'm always curious what their justifications are for living the way they do.

If you had to step into a character's shoes from the book, who would you chose and why?

That's a tricky question – it's not like any of them have charmed lives that would be simple or pleasurable to live. I think, though, that I'd step into Janice's shoes: I've never done anything as reckless and self-destructive as she has, and I'm fascinated by how it must feel to just let everything go the way she does. Her life is the farthest from mine, so it would be the most unusual experience to try on.

What are some novels that you could read again and again?

Here's a few books that I've read multiple times – Blindness, by Jose Saramago; The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen; On Beauty, by Zadie Smith; Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov….

You live in Los Angeles, what are some of your favorite places to eat?

That's a question I could spend days answering: I am definitely a closet gourmand. For a fancy meal, there's this terrific gourmet chophouse called Jar, which I go to for special occasions; and I love the California-Mediterranean restaurants Lucques and AOC.In LA we have amazing ethnic food, and I love Korean BBQ at Parks BBQ, or dim sum at Triumphal Palace way out in the San Gabriel Valley.

There's a little taco shack called Yuca's near my house that makes the most amazing carne asada taco; and a Vietnamese place called Viet Noodle Bar which makes a dish with turmeric fish and home-made noodles that is my favorite comfort food.

Who do you admire and why?

It's funny – I've been asked the "who do you admire most" or "who is your hero" question for years, and I've never had a good answer. I remember being asked it first at a live interview when applying for college, seventeen years ago, and being stumped even then. (I think I said Winston Churchill, for no other reason than that seemed like an answer a very well-educated person would offer).

In general, I admire anyone who has a passion for something that they actively pursue, no matter how challenging that pursuit may be – whether that means starving while you make your paintings or climbing the Himalayas in a blizzard or living in a filthy tent while helping refugees in Sudan.

Are you working on another book at the moment?

Yes. But I'm not ready to talk about it yet - too soon!

Writing is a solitary activity….are you a person who likes to be around a lot of people or do you enjoy your quiet time?

I definitely like to be around people. Too much time alone and I get very antsy. I find I work best at cafes with lots of people around, with my headphones on to tune out the noise. Somehow the presence of other people helps me focus more. Also – being far away from the Internet helps, too.

What's next for you?

My second novel, and, hopefully, the screen adaptation of my book...

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Books to Film....

fresh from the Dark Knight, Maggie Gyllenhaal

I just read some interesting Book to Movie news. Here's the scoop about the book first,

Singer and guitarist Bad Blake was once a first-rate country-and-western star, but now he's 57, an alcoholic, a failure at four marriages, and playing in third-rate clubs. The biggest gig he can get is opening for Tommy Sweet, the kid Bad got started and whose career has now eclipsed Bad's. Bad meets Jean Craddock when she comes to interview him and they fall in love. Her little boy, Buddy, inspires Bad to search for his own long-lost son, but there's no happy ending there. And when Bad, hungry for a drink, loses Jean's son, things take a downturn, despite Bad's fling with AA. This first novel has the authentic patter and ambience of those seedy one-night-stands, but the plot is thin and the ending is very downbeat.

The movie is set to star Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jeff Bridges. Now here's the thing- the book came out in 1989 and on Amazon, there are only 2 reviews and not even a book photo! Not exactly a blockbuster. In fact, have you ever heard of it before right now? Probably not. I know that there is a lack of Hollywood movies coming out in '09 thanks to the writers strike. So are the writers studying novels from the last twenty years to see what can translate to the big screen? Is there such a shortage of good scripts these days? I wonder. I know there is a real dirth of screenplays with strong female leads, that is a fact. (naturally this makes me want to point out my own screenplay which has meaty female roles than span ages and decades.)

I am always interested in good books, especially books chosen to be adapted for the big screen. Right now I'm reading Janelle Brown's All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and it's only a matter of time before this is optioned for the big screen. It will be, I know it. Until then, pick it up for a fun read. And while you're at it, check out some older books, certainly there are a few undiscovered gems out there.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Five Minutes with Maggie-Sin in the Second City

In turn-of-the-century Chicago, one neighborhood, the Levee district, houses the city's vices – casinos, dance halls, saloons, and brothels. One such brothel, the Everleigh Club, boasts international renown. Karen Abbott's book, Sin in the Second City: Madams, Playboys, and the Battle for America's Soul, chronicles the rise and fall of Chicago's vice district through the eyes of the Everleigh sisters and their famous club. The two sisters, Minna and Ada, ruled the Levee district. They treated their girls well and their customers better. In the earliest years of the 1900s, Chicago's streets teemed with unruly criminals clashing with staunch reformers. The unrest infiltrated the city. Violent protests forced the city's government to act. Throughout this turbulent point in Chicago's history, the Everleigh sisters watched and weathered changes in government and popular opinion. Abbot uses their experiences running their brothel to unravel the city's sordid history and to shed light on the conflicts at that period in American history.

The best nonfiction reads like a novel – intriguing dialogue, interesting characters, plot and action. Abbott's book accomplishes all those things, while providing an incredible amount of information. She meticulously reports on her own research methodology in both the introduction and conclusion of the book. Sin in the Second City is as entertaining as it is informative. From cover to cover, Abbott sucks the reader in with the sisters' charming personalities, the fascinating history of Chicago, and an underlying humor that makes this book a must-read!


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I'm off...

I am off for a long weekend in San Francisco! I will be back on Tuesday...

The Stone Angel: Books to film

When I heard about this movie, I thought it sounded somewhat similar to the screenplay that I've been writing. Of course, the two films are nothing alike except for the fact there is an older lady reflecting on her life to a younger, less wise woman. The Stone Angel stars Hollywood actresses Ellen Page and Ellen Burstyn. Two Ellens for the price of one! I saw a clip of the film on the TV Guide Channel and I got chills. This is a must-see!

As so many movies are, this one is based on a book by Margaret Laurence. The book was published many years ago and I haven't read it but am intrigued by the story. I find it interesting that a movie would be made from a book that's not currently on the best seller lists.
Good material will always stand the test of time though. You can click here for the official movie trailer.

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Kristin Chenoweth: memoir due in '09

I am stunned at this pint sized lady's amazing talents! Her voice alone will give you chills. Check out the video below with the also incredible Idina Menzel. I wish I had just a tiny drop of the singing talent they have!

Kristin Chenoweth and her publishers have announced the title of her memoir, "A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love and Faith In Stages"."The book will be a candid account of the Oklahoma-born actress's life, from her adoption shortly after birth to her Tony-nominated turn in Wicked to her work in Hollywood. Chenoweth will address the challenges she's faced in balancing her faith, family, private life and public persona." describe Publishers Weekly Notes.

The book will hit stores on April 14th, 2009 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.com.Chenoweth, who was nominated for a Tony for her performance as Glinda in Wicked and who won for her Sally Brown in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, also played the roles of Eve, Barbara and Passionella in The Apple Tree. She has also been seen in Scapin, A New Brain, Steel Pier, Epic Proportions, in the Lincoln Center concert production of Candide, and the Encores! productions of Strike Up the Band, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and The Apple Tree. "As I Am" and "Let Yourself Go" are her two solo CDs. She also played Annabeth Schott on TV's "The West Wing." Film credits include Running with Scissors, Stranger Than Fiction, Deck the Halls, R.V., Bewitched, and The Pink Panther. (source:ohnotheydidnt)


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I read it: Twilight

Okay, I finished the book. I did not expect to like it as much as I did. It flowed well with a love story so passionate that If I were a teenage girl, I'd be clutching my pillow at night praying and waiting for an Edward of my own.

I finished Twilight quickly because I was engaged in the story despite the subject matter. I can see where girls go crazy for the character of Edward, the most gorgeous bronze haired boy to roam the earth. And beautiful Bella, who lives in the dreary town of Forks, Washington, is swept up in Edwards' beauty and his strength. The love between the two is dangerous and forbidden so basically, it's the stuff girls (and some women) dream of.

Now that I finished Twilight, I moved on to the second book in the series. I want to see what happens to the characters and what better time to read this kind of book than the lazy days of summer? I have to throw in that some of my friends, girls in my book club, mind you these are mothers and wives in their thirties, will be at the bookstore at midnight in August waiting for the fourth book in the series. Nothing but the release of my own book (or movie) can get me out of the house at that hour!

Yesterday I spent about two hours online reading interviews with the author, Stephanie Meyer. I am always interested in how ideas drift into an author's head and become so much more. Here's a clip of behind the scenes of making the film which is where my interests lie.

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