Sunday, March 25, 2007
Revolutionary Road as a Film
Since I can't get to sleep, I've spent the last hour or so online and discovered that filmmaker Sam Mendes is turning Richard Yates's Revolutionary Road into a movie. The film will star Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (you may remember their last outing together in a small film about an oceanliner) as Frank and April Wheeler, the doomed suburban couple in this beautifully written, and ultimately tragic story. The book has to be considered as a leading contender for the Great American Novel.
I guess it's too early to tell if this will be a good idea or not. Shooting doesn't begin until this summer and I couldn't find anything on whether Mendes will keep the story in the early 1960's or adopt it as a contemporary tale. Let's hope he sticks with the novel's original period since it had so much to do with characters' attitudes and motivations. Plus, certain laws were different back then, which is so absolutely critical to the ending. If they fail to execute the ending with as much power as Yates gave it, the picture will be doomed. (But I hope the ending won't cause too much controversy about certain subjects so that the conversation about the film isn't overshadowed by the issues.)
As for the cast: Leo seems like an odd choice, but he's shown that he is a very capable actor. The guy is a complete dick in the book, so hopefully they won't try to soften him too much. If Leo commits to being a dick, then he may pull it off. However, Winslet does possess the right amount of muted ambition, self-doubt and tragic vulnerability to play April Wheeler. Thank God she's sleeping with the director. (Actually, if God wanted to intervene, Kate is in the top five on my list. Just throwing that out there.)
Well, if anything, the film will generate more interest in the novel, which has seen its share of out-of-print cycles. Hopefully more people will read it. Have you? If you haven't read Revolutionary Road, get to a bookstore or click onto Amazon and get a copy. You will not be sorry. It took close to six months for me to get over the horrible impact of that book - which is a good thing when it comes to art.