21 September 2007

It So Wants to Be a Movie

I missed Diane Duane's breakthrough novel, So You Want to Be a Wizard, when it was first published. I was busy doing other things like graduating from high school and learning how much more work there is in college. I didn't stop reading fantasy literature in the mid-'80s; I took courses on each of the three parts of Dante's Comedy and wrote my undergraduate thesis on The Hunting of the Snark. But I didn't have time to dig into anything new.

After finally reading this first novel in the Young Wizards series, I had a thought that I couldn't have had back then: it feels like a Robert Rodriguez movie waiting to happen. No, not the style that producer-director-writer-editor-etc.'s used for El Mariachi and Desperado and the recent Grindhouse. Rather, this is a movie for Rodriguez in his kid-movie mode, as in the Spy Kids series (and the lamentable Adventures of Sharkboy and Lava-Girl).

Consider the affinities:

  • There are two protagonists, boy and girl. Even in his quarter of Four Rooms, Rodriguez followed a boy and a girl.
  • Those kids have Latino heritage, like the main characters in most of Rodriguez's original screenplays. The boy, Kit Rodriguez (no relation), still speaks with a Spanish accent. The girl, Nita, is blonde and named Callahan, but her full first name of Juanita, which has got to mean something.
  • The kids' magical companion is a bobbing point of light, easily created using CGI. Rodriguez owns his own CGI shop in San Antonio, Troublemaker Digital Studios.
  • The heart of the book--from the fifth to the ninth chapters--takes place in a dark, skewed version of Manhattan, where dragons lurk in subway tunnels and cars are animate creatures. Again, that just cries out for CGI. And the artificiality of the result, which made parts of Spy Kids off-putting, would actually enhance the sense that there's something wrong with this Manhattan.
And did I mention the werewolves? Surely Robert Rodriguez likes werewolves.

On the other hand, someone would have to convince Rodriguez not to move the story to Texas, where he's set most of his movies. The New York area and Manhattan in particular are crucial to the character of the book.

In fact, some folks might be working on a So You Want to Be a Wizard movie right now. Back in January, Duane revealed that she was once again in talks with possible producers. She even posted some of her screenplay, showing how she had adapted the book's psychic conversations, which work perfectly well on a page, so that on screen they won't look like two actors staring into space. There's no producer-director-writer-editor-etc.'s name attached to this deal yet, but I can hope.

1 comment:

Katie said...

This is my husbands favorite book series *ever*. He's been reading them since that first one came out and still gets the new ones the day they come out (she's up to nine now, and still writing them). It's a pretty good series, but it changes a lot over time.

I do think that first one (and maybe a few of the others, but not all of them) would make a great movie. Especially if she updates it to have the technology that she added in later books (her screenplay snippet showed some of that, thankfully).

My husband is, of course, thrilled at the idea, but only if the movie is "right". Basically, the characters and the magic needs to feel right for him or he'll absolutely hate the whole thing, no matter how good a movie it ends up being! But that's how people get with the stories they've been attached to for more than twenty years!