Monday, August 09, 2010

Lit Biopic

Sean Penn in talks to play literary editor

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Sean Penn is in negotiations to star in a film about Maxwell Perkins, the eccentric literary editor who oversaw the release of works by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.


"Genius" is based on A. Scott Berg's National Book Award-winning 2008 biography, "Max Perkins: Editor of Genius." The movie will focus on the relationship between the fedora-wearing editor-in-chief at New York publishing house Scribner and a young Thomas Wolfe, though the script is peopled with literary characters.

It will be directed by Bill Pohlad, who hasn't shot a movie since the 1990 indie "Old Explorers." In recent years, he has focused on producing films through his River Road banner, including "Brokeback Mountain," "The Runaways" and the Penn-directed "Into the Wild."
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Aside from the involuntary grimace I gave when I saw the wrong date on Berg's biography -- it was first published in 1979 and won a National Book Award in 1980 -- I'm all smiles. I'd love to see this project fully realized. I'd clamber over hordes of irate, foul-smelling people to be the first in line to buy a ticket for a movie based on Max Perkins: Editor of Genius.
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This book is one of the best biographies out there. If you haven't read it yet, you're missing a treat. Ever since I read it back in 2001, I've been a Maxwell Perkins AND an A. Scott Berg fan. Great editors, great biographers -- they're both so rare and so valuable.
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In addition, it's time for a Lit biopic! I haven't seen a really good one since 1994's Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle. I have mixed feelings about Sylvia (2003), although I've seen it several times.
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The image above is of the dust jacket from the first edition. Although that's a caricature of Perkins, it could also be one of Sean Penn. Who'd have thunk it?

6 comments:

Care said...

I await this excitedly with you!

nat @book, line, and sinker said...

lol! i actually thought the cover WAS sean penn! haven't read this one but your glowing recommendation gives me pause! i'll put it on my 'fall reading' list. :)

Brenna said...

Wow I thought that was a sketch of Sean Penn.

Eva said...

That biography sounds so neat! And I hadn't heard of it, and it's an older book, so I'm very excited. (Lately, I think Tuffi's sent a friend to visit me, because I've begun feelings lots of guilt over how many books I read that were published in the noughties.) And based on that cover, it looks like Penn is a good choice!

Isabella said...

Me too, I LOVE this book! And Sean Penn is certainly talented enough -- this movie's got loads of potential.

Carrie #K said...

It sounds like a match made in heaven.