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M of P news

Good afternoon!

I was just passing along mixed-blessing news, in regards to a film version of Michael Chabon's debut novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (which is a great book ; the characters are really something else).

The good news is that there is a plan for it to : be a movie! They have cast a few people, including actors Peter Sarsgaard and Sienna Miller, in it. (this announcement is somewhat older news ; it was reported a while ago).

The bad news is that, in typical Hollywood style, they are changing the story quite a bit. There are some plot points coming up, for those who have not read the book, as a brief warning.

One of the main themes of the book is the fact that the main character, Art, meets a boy named also named Arthur (who is friends with another main character, Phlox). This is not a secondary character or 'brief description' - this is a good part of the book. Eventually, Art realizes that he likes Arthur, and the two of them date.

The current working version of the script (according to this site - http://www.filmick.co.uk/2007/01/mysteries-of-pittsburgh-script-review.html - which notes several other character and location changes, as well) does not have the other Arthur in it. At all. So, we have an entire part of a(n) - albeit fictitious - person's life written out, because joe scriptwriter is too much of a homophobe to put him in. Alas, this is not the first Hollywood movie to do this - everything from On the Waterfront to Breakfast at Tiffany's to Oliver Stone's Alexander edit out the entire lives of gay people, as the film world is in the business of insuring any expression of male sexuality never be shown to the general public. (This is, I have always felt, in short why America is actually different from Europe. It's not, in the words of Jules from Pulp Fiction, because they called a quarter pounder a "royale with cheese").

A question : sure, it's great to see a movie adaptation of something you know, independent of the source. I wonder what Michael Chabon himself thinks of this. Perhaps we should make a movie of the scriptwriter's life, and simply "leave out" his wife, kids and loved ones. Hey, they're not "marketable". Would you still see a movie, if the part much of the fan base of the book originally liked about the story was nowhere to be found? Heck, let's make Harry Potter a mathematician instead of a magician. It's close enough, right. The special effects can all be based on him showing pi in its complete form.

Thanks for reading ; sorry to be the bearer of less-pleasant news.

Take care,
* Geoff


Yeah, I had heard about this. I'm not particularly happy about it either. Although, it does sound to me that Art has an affair with Cleveland now, instead of Arthur, so some of the book's queer content is still there. But again, just, no. Part of the point of Cleveland's character was that Art loved him in a non-sexual way, which added a dimension to the theme of male-male love. I've never been fond of adaptations that make composite characters of fairly important characters, and Cleveland and Arthur are two that I definitely would not have mixed. If they wanted to ease up the character load, why not just drop Jane? I mean, sure Cleveland takes on the dangerous jewel heist job so he can get the money and give Jane a respectable life, but it would believable for him to just want the money.

I've stopped caring about what Hollywood does, ever since those "Russell Crowe to play Sherlock Holmes" rumors (which they thankfully were)

I concur. Thanks for sharing! How interesting.

hmm, Russell Crowe as Sherlock Holmes. If they cast actress Emma Watson (e.g. Hermione, in the Harry Potter world) as "Dr. Watson", we know we are in trouble, heh. Of course, it was just a rumor as is.

You know what, though? Films and books are two completely different art forms, and often, films that stick completely to a book's plot are BORING. Things have to change. Sometimes, I'm really glad to hear that a film has deviated from a story--like "Children of Men"--because that will make for a good movie!

It only bothers me if the alteration in plot ends up in a BAD movie. Then it's like, why did they make the change in the first place?

So, we'll have to wait and see which way this goes.