Greg Mottola Important Artifacts

Paramount Pictures has signed Superbad/Adventureland director Greg Mottola to direct a big screen adaptation of Leanne Shapton’s book Important Artifacts and Personal Property From the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry, which the studio acquired last year. That’s not all — Risky Business reports that Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman are attached to the project, which Mottola hopes to spin into a romantic comedy.

Important Artifacts and Personal Property From the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry

So what is it about? Here is the description from the book cover:

“Auction catalogs can tell you a lot about a person—their passions and vanities, peccadilloes and aesthetics; their flush years and lean. Think of the collections of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Truman Capote, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In Leanne Shapton’s marvelously inventive and invented auction catalog, the 325 lots up for auction are what remain from the relationship between Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris (who aren’t real people, but might as well be). Through photographs of the couple’s personal effects—the usual auction items (jewelry, fine art, and rare furniture) and the seemingly worthless (pajamas, Post-it notes, worn paperbacks)—the story of a failed love affair vividly (and cleverly) emerges. From first meeting to final separation, the progress and rituals of intimacy are revealed through the couple’s accumulated relics and memorabilia. And a love story, in all its tenderness and struggle, emerges from the evidence that has been left behind, laid out for us to appraise and appreciate. In an earlier work, Was She Pretty?, Shapton, a talented artist and illustrator, subtly explored the seemingly simple yet powerfully complicated nature of sexual jealousy. In Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris—a very different yet equally original book—she invites us to contemplate what is truly valuable, and to consider the art we make of our private lives.”

Toronto-born Leanne Shapton is an illustrator, writer, and publisher who is an art director of the New York Times op-ed page and cofounder of J&L Books. The 144-page book was published in February 2009, and is now available on Amazon for around $12-$13. Here is an example of a page from the book:

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You can definitely see how they will use the items as a framing device to tell the story of this couple and their failed love affair. I would assume that if this is like any other Hollywood romantic comedy, Harold Morris will show up at the last minute of the auction to bid on a photo or artifact that meant a lot to him and the relationship, and once again win over Lenore Doolan. Lets hope not — I think I like it better as an auction catalog (or a 500 Days of Summer-style chronicle of a love story).

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