Airborne Toxic Events Coming to a Theater Near You

If you’re one of my readers who teaches in a literature department, you may want to skip this entry. I just found out that there are plans to make a film version of Don DeLillo’s White Noise. Apparently the film has been planned for at least a year, which makes me (want to) believe that it may not be happening, especially given the track records of the director Barry (Wild Wild West and Men in Black II) Sonnenfeld.

I’m not someone who believes that literary adaptations are necessarily a bad idea or that the novel (or whatever “original” source) is always superior to the film, but as Aaron pointed out a long time ago, Sonnenfeld’s stylistic flourishes don’t seem to fit the spirit of DeLillo’s novel. Right now, I’m trying to operate under the assumption that this film will never happen.


  1. Jason Said,

    September 29, 2005 @ 5:55 pm

    Would there be any irony in filming the photographing of the most-photographed barn in America? Which would be completely fictional? Isn’t that like meta-simulacra times three?

    I think I just hurt something.

  2. laura Said,

    September 29, 2005 @ 8:19 pm

    oh nooooo!

    If I stick my fingers in my ears, and shout “la la la la la” very loudly, eyes squeezed tightly shut, do you think it will go away?

    Seriously though, who would have a reasonable chance of doing this properly? Jason’s comment makes me think that any of those sensibilities who are a little too fond of metafictionalising (Gondry etc) would give us a movie that reached hitherto undreamt-of heights of pretentiousness. Somber but menacing realism is what the book calls for.

    Something keeps whispering “William Friedkin” in my ear….

  3. Chuck Said,

    September 29, 2005 @ 9:37 pm

    Yes, Sonnenfeld seems like an awful choice. He also did the Adams Family movies, so I keep hearing in the background: “They’re quirky and they’re spooky…The Gladney Family [snap, snap].” Gondry and Spike Jonze too pretentious or too smug or both.

    Somebody low-key would be much better. Shane Carruth, the dircetor of Primer, seems like he’d be able to get the subtleties better than most. Curtis Hanson, who directed Wonder Boys might bring an effective, low-key touch.

    Since the film has been “announced” for over a year and there are still no cast listings, I keep telling myself it’s not gonna happen. Of course, I’m still thankful that Oprah never got around to asking Jonathan Demme to direct her, Danny Glover, and Thandie Newton in Beloved. Really glad that didn’t happen.

  4. dvd Said,

    September 30, 2005 @ 1:35 pm

    At least Underworld seems to have permanently stalled on its way to the screen (there were rumors at one point that Paul Thomas Anderson was attached to make it, which, actually, might have been kinda interesting).

  5. Chuck Said,

    September 30, 2005 @ 1:40 pm

    I’d heard the Underworld rumors, and PT Anderson might have been interesting for such a project, probably moe as a window into Anderson’s vision than as an interpretation of DeLillo.

  6. Darren Said,

    September 30, 2005 @ 7:07 pm

    Anyone here see Safe? Todd Haynes might be the only American I’d trust to direct White Noise. If we can pull a director from Europe, Michael Haneke would be perfect, and Laurent Cantet would also be great.

    My dream DeLillo adaptation would be Claire Denis doing The Body Artist. (If I can ever get this damned dissertation finished, I’m going to try to find an article in that idea.)

  7. Chuck Said,

    September 30, 2005 @ 7:37 pm

    I thought about Haynes, too, in part because of “Safe” (I’m typing on a German keyborad, so I’m haing a difficult time writing this comment…more later).

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