I recently reported that nothing less than the Genesis account of creation was being developed by former Walden Media exec Cary Granat. Now Granat has announced his company is tackling another Christian story that will need lavish special effects – the Christian classic “A Wrinkle in Time.”
Jeff Stockwell, the writer who has been charged with adapting “Wrinkle”, is also helping developing another story filled with Christian themes, Kate DiCamillo’s “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” for the big screen, undoubtedly hoping to reach the audience that made “Because of Winn Dixie” – also a DiCamillo novel adaptation -a modest hit at the box office.
I didn’t like the ABC mini-series version of “Wrinkle” that came out a few years back in hopes of tapping in to the “Harry Potter” market. Too many of the characters were watered down – Aunt Beast ,for example- and too many of the wrong details were left out of an extremely complex story about a brother and sister time traveling through the galaxy to rescue their father . While computer technology has certainly caught up to the demands of the novel and Granat was part of the successful development of Walden’s “Chronicles of Narnia” movies, I still wonder if the deeper allegorical nature of novel can truly be capture in two hours for a feature film.
On the other hand, I think “Edward Tulane” is perfect for a big screen adaptation because the story is rich in fantasy, charm, and adventure while not attempting to be so allegorical. Besides, movies with cute mice in them have historically done very well at the box office.
What I think is most interesting about these two adaptations – along with the film development of C.S, Lewis’s “The Great Divorce” – is that it seems Hollywood is showing long-term interest in developing intelligent stories from a Christian worldview that go beyond the two extremes of bargain basement Godsploitation fare or historical Biblical extravaganzas that have filled movie theaters in the post “Passion of the Christ” era with varied success.
So what other Christian novels that you love would you like to see developed into feature films? “A Severe Mercy” has been one Christian classic in and out of development in Hollywood for years. “The Shack” will inevitably be made into a movie.
I think my vote might have to be for either a really gritty version of a newer Christian fantasy book “Auralia’s Colors” or a really fun version of Lauren Winner’s memoir “Girl Meets God.”