The Road coming in 2008...

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Brett_M, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    from director John Hillcoat (The Proposition) with a screenplay by Joe Penhall.

    For those of you who don't know, "The Road" is the 2007 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction. It's set in a post-apocalyptic southeastern United States. A father and son are traveling to the coast, searching for food and avoiding bands of cannibalistic fellow survivors. That sounds outlandish but the real story is the relationship between the father and the son (each the other's "world eternal"). Many have called it the best fiction this year.

    I was telling my wife about it last night and wondered which director could capture the tension and darkness of the novel, but also it's hope. I thought Peter Weir would be an excellent choice. I looked it up today and saw John Hillcoat's name -- PERFECT CHOICE. In many ways, The Proposition has the same tone and quality of the novel.

    I finished the novel last night and, to put it mildly, I was devastated. I have never experienced anything like it. The book is fabulous.

    I intend to read "No Country for Old Men" next, which is already making waves as a return to form from the Cohen Bros. Can't wait for that to hit theaters later this year.

    Have you read "The Road" yet? Thoughts?
     
  2. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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  3. William Creamer

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    I finished this book last week. I had read that after a nuclear war "the living would envy the dead" but I just glossed over the concept without really considering what the scientists were getting at with statments like that, after reading this book I now understand.
     
  4. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I found the book profound and creepy. But I'm really interested to see how this becomes a film without making it overly action oriented, which would be bad. This is a book that is defined in large part by the fact that the actors (the man and the boy) can say very little. (most common dialog: "OK?" "I'm OK" ) And is built around the reassurance that it's OK that they are still alive. That's going to be a real trick making it into an effective film.
     
  5. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    A truly horrifying concept. I hope the film can capture the tone of McCarthy's prose -- should make for a scary film.

    Do any passages or situations stick with you?
     
  6. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    Maybe if these new Cormac McCarthy adaptations do well, someone will finally think about maybe letting Billy Bob release his longer cut of All the Pretty Horses...
     
  7. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    I thought the same thing. I liked aspects of ATPH (and there are some fans of it) but, for me, it was so uneven that it ultimately just dissappoints.
     
  8. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    I agree. I think that's why I was glad that John Hillcoat got the director's gig. The film should be visually striking but it's the character moments that will speak volumes. It's not a sci-fi/action/adventure. There are aspects of each but I hope it's a character-driven drama. There's enough tension to make it exciting (if that's the right word) but there's more heart than anything. I want to be moved, not excited. The Road is on par with The Green Mile for me -- emotionally devastating.

    I think the worst thing that could happen is it turns into a PG-13 action film.
     
  9. Sandro

    Sandro Second Unit

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    I read a lot of fiction and The Road is probably the best contemporary novel I have ever read. As a father to a 13 year old boy, it is certainly the most affecting.

    However I feel that this is one case where a film simply cannot do justice to the novel which achieves a lot of its power from McCarthy's extraordinary prose. I also did not like The Proposition.

    No Country For Old Men is a very different book and was generally seen as a disappointment by McCarthy fans but I enjoyed it immensely. I am very interested to see what the Coens do with it.
     
  10. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    I told my wife this was going to be a film, and a few thoughts:

    (1) It's never explained in the book this was a nuclear holocaust. In fact, we both thought it was far more likely something else, because random pockets of people existed everywhere, roads and infrastructure still existed, just a mass die-off of everything, everywhere.

    But (2) is a big one, and I need to spoiler for those that have not read the book:

    There are two parts of the book that we think may have serious difficulty translating to the screen.. the flashback where the woman (mother) explains she's decided to kill herself, and she should kill the boy too, because it's the only "right" thing to do... and second, at the end, when the man dies, and the boy leaves him to walk off with another "family" into a pretty unknown situation, outside of they have kids.. who knows if anything is any better in the longterm for them.. The end is SO negative on that end that I worry this could be made far more saccharine in a hollywood production.
     
  11. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    Pg 52 of the softcover:

    "The clocks stopped at 1:17. A long shear of light and then a series of low concussions."

    "A dull rose glow in the window glass."

    Sounds like a nuclear strike to me. It's quite possible that some people could survive a nuclear conflagration -- not everyone lives in a big city. Also, the ash fall, cold temps and almost constant rain and/or snow (in the southeastern US) sound like nuclear winter to me. The sky is dark all the time, blocking out sunlight and killing the plants (those that were not burned and blackened by the initial flash). The food chain would be completely destroyed from the bottom up.

    Your interpretation of the end is interesting. I was overwhelmed with a sense of relief myself. I read it differently, I guess.
     
  12. Chris

    Chris Lead Actor

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    Hmm. You have a sharp eye. I thought about those things, but when I read it, I figured rural areas may survive but the book made it out as though a great deal was poisoned, etc. rather then irradiated, as canned goods and some glass-stored items were OK, but open exposure = bad.

    So, I figured there was some sort of strike, but I never took it as point blank nuclear. But who knows.

    I guess I had a very down view of the end, since I had no reason to believe any longterm good was happening at all. But I could see others as seeing it as a relief also.
     
  13. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    I think the son symbolized the longterm good. I felt relief but I was still numb at the end. It was devastating.
     
  14. Bill GrandPre

    Bill GrandPre Cinematographer

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    It could have been something like an asteroid strike too but it was obvious to me that the cause of the "apocalypse" didn't matter to McCarthy so he didn't dwell on it.

    Just presenting the circumstances as fact without sidetracking the book to explain them is one of the reasons why this book rises above the sci-fi label that it arguably deserves.
     
  15. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    Good point. It's very cinematic in that the main characters don't know, so we don't either. The film should be from their p.o.v. in order to maintain that. The story is the relationship between the man and the boy. It's not about window dressing.
     
  16. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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  17. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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  18. Jefferson Morris

    Jefferson Morris Supporting Actor

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    I agree Viggo would have been utterly perfect. I like Guy Pearce as well, but...dammit, Viggo would have been perfect.

    At any rate, I'm certainly looking forward to this one. I read this book a few months ago. There's a simplicity to the story and style that only a seasoned master would trust in.

    My father happened to be in the hospital for heart bypass surgery when I finished the book. He's okay...but that real-life circumstance made the book's ending particularly rough for me.

    --Jefferson Morris
     
  19. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    Hope he's doing well.

    I have a young son and the end obliterated me.
     
  20. Ar3d

    Ar3d Auditioning

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    who will be the main characters of this said film, "The Road coming in 2008"?
     

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