Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2014 by Angie Han
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past several weeks, you’ve probably heard of Serial. The new crime drama from This American Life has been the talk of the Internet, inspiring thinkpieces and theories left and right.
Serial is a bit unusual for a watercooler show in that it’s not a TV series, but a podcast — but it’s just like every other beloved property in that it’s captured the attention of Hollywood. But don’t hold your breath for Serial: The Movie just yet. Serial co-creator Julie Snyder says she has “no interest” in a screen adaptation, and the TAL team isn’t taking meetings about Serial right now. Hit the jump to see what they had to say about a possible Serial podcast movie.
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Any pop culture writer today worth a scan online has a unique opinion on Chuck Klosterman. The renown American author and journalist made a name for himself in the aughts with witty, hyper-informed contributions as a former senior writer and columnist at SPIN. In 2003, he released a bestselling book of essays about “low culture” under the title, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, that dissected, exploded, and—in the case of Saved By the Bell—meta-ized topics ranging from internet porn to why there’s only “one important question a culturally significant film can still ask: What is reality?” To readers with an eye on the future, Klosterman signaled not only the arrival of an adored critic amongst hipsters, TV junkies, and geeks; he was the aware embodiment of the modern intellectual turned as voracious consumer of entertainment. And ever since many a beer has been consumed by writers arguing over or coveting this appointment.
Post-Cocoa Puffs, Klosterman’s bibliography has grown to include several works of non-fiction as well as last year’s Downtown Owl, a well-received debut novel benefiting from word-of-mouth, not unlike how Puffs did (but with Tweets on top). His latest book, Eating the Dinosaur, is a characteristic essay collection that can be burned through in a night but also raises several troubling philosophical questions. In the first part of Klosterman’s interview with /Film, he elaborates on the role feted director Errol Morris played in a few of Dinosaur’s themes. We also discuss his opinion of movie junkets, the accelerated culture of movie blogs, and the film most comparable to Guns N’ Roses‘ Chinese Democracy. For the second round of the interview, click here.
Hunter Stephenson: Hi Chuck. So, are you in California to speak about the book?
Chuck Klosterman: I’m doing The Jim Rome Show on ESPN, and it’s in Huntington Beach, California. And I gotta say, it’s creepy as fuck out here man.
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Paramount Pictures has hired School of Rock screenwriter Mike White to script Santa Wars, a comedy based on the true story which appeared on This American Life in December 2008. The story, written by Joshuah Bearman, told of two rival factions that developed within a union of professional Santa Clauses, which resulted in a “Santa Claus civil war.”
White is best when put in the dark comedy arena, and this might be a perfect fit. This story is definitely more akin to Bad Santa than Elf. White’s previous credits include Dead Man on Campus, Chuck & Buck, Freaks and Geeks, and The Good Girl. More recently, he’s had a turn in more family-friendly territory with School of Rock and Nacho Libre, before making his directorial debut Year of the Dog.
After the jump you can find more information about the original story that has inspired this feature film, and even listen to that original segment.
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Update: I have been quickly corrected. This is not Errol’s first non documentary film. He directed a mystery film called The Dark Wind in 1991.
One of the best documentarians in the history of cinema has announced that he will be making his first second fictional feature film, kinda. Errol Morris, who won an Academy Award for Fog of War in 2003, has signed on to direct the Untitled Cryonics Project for Mandate Pictures. The film isn’t entirely fictional. Based on Robert F Nelson‘s memoir “We Froze the First Man” and a story which aired on NPR’s This American Life titled “You’re as Cold as Ice,” Stranger Than Fiction screenwriter Zach Helm was brought on board to pen the adaptation.
The dark comedy, set in the 1960’s, tells the true story of a television repairman who who joined a group of enthusiasts who believed they could cheat death with a new technology called cryonics. But as Variety puts it, “freezing dead people so scientists could reanimate them in the future turned out to be harder than Nelson thought.” You can listen to the story which ran on NPR on thisAmericanLife.org. I’m very interested to see how Morris does with a non-documentary narrative feature.
After several years of the best radio show ever produced, a none-too-shabby TV variant and a good handful of live engagements, Ira Glass and This American Life are finally getting into the movie business. Inevitable, perhaps.
Somewhat surprisingly, though, the screenwriters lined up for their first picture are the guys behind the script for Joe Johnston’s upcoming Captain America as well as the first two Narnia movies; yet perhaps less surprisingly for This Life collaborators, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely also wrote The Life and Death of Peter Sellers and collaborated with Cameron Crowe on a proposed, yet stalled, remake of the Ernst Lubitsch masterpiece Trouble in Paradise. (Who on earth thought Crowe would need assistance in adapting Lubitsch???)
It’s propped up between these different genre types that I suspect the American Life project will stand, though leaning somewhat on the latter.
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Carts of Darkness, a 59-minute documentary on homeless guys in Canada who get their thrills by gunning stolen shopping carts down steep hills (and gunning plenty of beers), is online for our viewing pleasure. Directed in high def by Murray Siple, the film offers a window into this fringe microcosm set deep within the beautiful landscapes of Vancouver, with tunes by rock groups Black Mountain and Ladyhawk. Siple’s personal investment and attraction to the subject matter becomes apparent before the half-way mark, and I was surprised to see the film turn into a memorable character study that touches on big ideas without feeling polemic or hippie-dippity. If you have an hour to spare, and a mixture of This American Life, Jackass and Strange Brew sounds appealing, check it out in full after the jump.
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