the things they carried movie

The Things They Carried, a book I’m sure many of us read in a high school Lit class, is getting the big screen treatment. Rupert Sanders, director of Snow White and the Huntsman and the ill-received live-action Ghost in the Shell, will direct a film based on Tim O’Brien‘s book of short stories about the Vietnam War. Scott B. Smith, author (and screenplay adapter) of both A Simple Plan and The Ruins, will tackle the script.

Collider has the scoop on The Things They Carried movie. Tim O’Brien’s book was inspired by his own experiences in Vietnam, and Sanders hopes to find a young cast to bring O’Brien’s stories to life. Since the book is really a series of interconnected stories, there’s not one main synopsis to work with, but here is what the bulk of the book is about:

The protagonist, who is named Tim O’Brien, begins by describing an event that occurred in the middle of his Vietnam experience. “The Things They Carried” catalogs the variety of things his fellow soldiers in the Alpha Company brought on their missions. Several of these things are intangible, including guilt and fear, while others are specific physical objects, including matches, morphine, M-16 rifles, and M&M’s candy.

O’Brien wrote several books about Vietnam, but The Things They Carried is arguably the most well-known, having been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It’s not clear if Sanders will be using all the stories in the book, some of them, or just the titular tale. One of the book’s stories, “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong”, was previously adapted into the 1998 TV film A Soldier’s Sweetheart, starring Kiefer Sutherland and Skeet Ulrich.

Vietnam is a subject Hollywood has gone to countless times, but there’s definitely room here to craft a great ensemble drama. I don’t know if Sanders as director inspires much enthusiasm, since his Snow White film is mostly forgotten, and no one cared for his Americanized Ghost in the Shell adaptation. But having Scott B. Smith handle the script is promising. Smith’s adaptation of his own A Simple Plan resulted in one of Sam Raimi’s best movies.

Production on The Things They Carried movie could start as early as this summer in Vietnam.

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