Billy Pilgrim is inching closer toward his big-screen revival, and now the long-gestating "Slaughterhouse-Five" adaptation may have found its writer in A-list scribe Charlie Kaufman.
The movie isn't quite on the horizon yet (so it goes). Director Guillermo del Toro originally hoped for a 2011 release but has been delayed because of his work on "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (he eventually left that project) and "Pacific Rim." But now, following brainstorming talks with Kaufman, the movie could be ready to move forward, pending financing from Universal.
Del Toro provided an update to The Telegraph (via IndieWire), saying:
Charlie [Kaufman] and I talked for about an hour-and-a-half and came up with a perfect way of doing the book. I love the idea of the Trafalmadorians [the aliens of 'Slaughterhouse-Five'] — to be ‘unstuck in time,’ where everything is happening at the same time. And that’s what I want to do. It’s just a catch-22. The studio will make it when it”s my next movie, but how can I commit to it being my next movie until there’s a screenplay? Charlie Kaufman is a very expensive writer!
So while some details are clearly still up in the air, we're holding out hope that this will be one of film's next big dream teams. It seems a perfect fit for Kaufman, who's known for quirky scripts -- and Kurt Vonnegut is nothing if not quirky -- like "Being John Malkovich" and the Oscar-winning "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." But it reflects a slight change of pace for del Toro, whose directorial résumé comprises entries like the "Hellboy" movies and the critically acclaimed Spanish horror film "Pan's Labyrinth."
Whatever ends up happening with the "Slaughterhouse" update, its mostly stagnant progress likely reflects the complexity that adapting the odd sci-fi story will entail. The 1972 version won the Prix du Jury award at the Cannes Film Festival and received the now-late Vonnegut's stamp of approval, yet failed to make waves at the box office upon its release. Whether del Toro's big-budget proclivities will mesh with Kaufman's idiosyncratic sensibilities as majestically as we hope is yet to be seen. Fingers crossed that everything will be beautiful and nothing will hurt.
Check out HuffPost Books' roundup of this year's page-to-screen adaptations to look for:
By F. Scott Fitzgerald Just about everybody and their second cousin knows that this mind-blowing film had its debut recently. However, grab yourself a few hours of quiet, pick up the just-as-juicy novel and lose yourself to the excesses of the Jazz Age -- and the heartbreak of unrequited love. — Leigh Newman
By Shannon Hale Sometimes you think a book was written just for you. And sometimes you know it was. This hysterical romp through the world of Austen lovers takes our heroine, Jane (ha!) Hayes, to England where she gets to enter the world of Austen re-enactment, dressing in Empire-waist gowns, dancing by candlelight and falling -- in a stumbling, staggering, lose-your-fan-and-sash kind of way -- in love with a certain tall, dark Mr. Almost Darcy. Hilarious, tender, smart and semiperiod! What more could we want? The movie comes out in August. Until then, our plan is to reread the novel over and over. — Leigh Newman
By Mohsin Hamid This page-turner -- about a young Pakistani man who rises to wealth and privilege in the United States but who returns to Pakistan, not to become a fundamentalist but a professor -- has a plot so compelling that you may need to keep a heart monitor on hand. It also presents one of the most bedeviling endings ever, the kind that makes you long for (in the best way) a short dumb answer where none will ever exist. The cinematic version stars Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Kate Hudson. The book stars gorgeous, risky, intelligent prose. — Leigh Newman
By Henry James We're swooning! This exquisite, ahead-of-its-time novel, set in the 1890s, follows the story of young Maisie as she shuttles between her divorced mother and father until she's finally forced to choose a future of her own making. The modern-day film version stars Julianne Moore (yes!) and Alexander Skarsgard (double yes!) but lacks the turn-of-the-20th-century lace, carriages and fraught, terrifying innuendos of supposedly polite high society. — Leigh Newman
By William Shakespeare The classic comedy, which involves multiple disguises, witty barbs and a truly agonizing wait for Beatrice and Benedick to fall for each other, is coming to life as a contemporary indie film by Joss Whedon, the genius behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Then again, the book features the musings of a pretty talented guy named William Shakespeare, who knew how to toss off one-liners about love and the human condition, such as, "Let me be that I am and seek not to alter me." A bit of wisdom that, in the print version, is worth folding down the page for. — Leigh Newman
We're not going to lie to you. The book doesn't have Brad Pitt. But it does have zombies, a dystopian world in which a brave few fight off the living dead, and the kind of page-turning, nail-biting, mind-twisting story that will give you goose bumps, even while you're lying out under the broiling summer sun. — Leigh Newman