by Littlebells and Openbook
Author Paullina Simons has recently announced that her novel The Bronze Horseman has found a production company and director who are enthusiastic about making her story come to life on the big screen. For those of you who are just joining us, TBH was the first book we reviewed at our sister site, Page to Silver Screen. An exceptional hit among our readers, having this beautiful story made into a film is a homerun! Or is it?
The Bronze Horseman is just the first book in a trilogy. In short, it is the love story of Tatiana and Alexander Barrington that spans decades from their first meeting in Russia. (Please see our book review and movie discussion.)
For many of Tatiana and Alexander fans, a film is a dream come true. However like many books adapted to the screen, TBH could either be exceptional or a complete disaster. There are many aspects that go into making a great and memorable film: a wonderful story, talented script writers that can still capture the essence of the book and translate it to the screen, actors and directors who have a deep connection to the characters, and a production staff that creates the mood and setting of the story.
ITA, a British production company has optioned to buy the rights. Russian-American director, Sash Andranikian is set to direct. Chances are if the film does get made and is a success, the other two novels will soon follow.
Taking a look at a book series that have been adapted, let’s take a look at their film backgrounds.
Harry Potter was bought by Warner Brothers, and it’s first director was Chris Columbus. He is known for such films as Adventures In Babysitting, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Mrs. Doubtfire, Stepmom and Bicentennial Man. He also wrote the screenplay for Nine Months, Gremlins, and The Goonies. Both HP films he directed grossed a combined $534,528,506 nationwide. Not too shabby Mr. Columbus! Not only were children massive fans of Harry Potter, but so were adults both young and old. And as they say, “The rest is history!”
Twilight was bought by Summit Entertainment (now Lions Gate Entertainment). The first film was directed by independent film director, Catherine Hardwicke. Hardwicke is known for Thirteen, Lords of Dogtown, The Nativity Story, and Red Riding Hood. No big blockbusters although these films are recognized by many. The film grossed $141,449,475. The series continued to do well, but mostly among the fan base. Most reviewers of the films mock it and there are dozens upon dozens of parodies that can be found on youtube.
The Hunger Games was acquired by Color Force and entered into a co-production agreement with Lions Gate Entertainment. Director Gary Ross directed Pleasantville and Seabiscuit (7 Oscar nominations). THG grossed $407,999,255 nationwide. Surely the following books will do just as well or better.
As fans of The Bronze Horseman, the concern several of us have is translating the tremendously well written characters and emotions to the screen without sacrificing elements that made us grow to love these two beloved characters. Mr. Andranikian doesn’t have a very large repertoire of work for us to fully invest our trust in his ability to direct such a massive love story, but that is not to say the job can’t be done! There is also concern with those who will be cast as Tatiana and Alexander. Too big a name could be very distracting.
Choosing the Right Actor for the Job-by Openbook
A job that often goes unnoticed is that of a casting director or CD. The great director Jerry Frankenheimer once said, “Casting is 65% of directing.” The job of a CD often resembles that of a journalist (because she gets inside the heads of her cases) according to Avy Kaufman who’s worked with Ang Lee and Steven Speilberg she states;
“ ….whether it means scouring the theatre scene for “period” faces to cast upcoming Depression-era films Amelia and Public Enemies, or watching stacks of Russian DVDs to find actors for CIA thriller Salt. She says the emotional payoffs are similar, too: “If people can laugh, cry, or learn something from [the films], that’s just icing on what I do.”
Its clear (for some of the actors being circulated for Alexander and Tatiana) there’s more to consider than just popularity. CD duo Victoria Burrows and Scot Boland who’s worked with directors Robert Zemeckis and Peter Jackson state “A lot of film acting is internal; it’s in the eyes, face, and subtleties,…..” Hmm! If that’s true than choosing an actor consist of the right period faces, expressive eyes, and most importantly the ability to connect and subtly convey the internal dialogue of that character on screen. Given this knowledge what actors do you think best exhibit these qualities for Alexander & Tatiana?