How perfect that, a week after we learned about John Green’s forthcoming Paper Towns movie, Rainbow Rowell has exciting news: Her YA novel Eleanor & Park is also being adapted for the big screen! Green was Rowell’s biggest advocate with his glowing New York Times review of Eleanor & Park in early 2013; this is just the next awesome step in extending the book’s life.
Eleanor & Park is like Romeo and Juliet, where instead of Montagues and Capulets you have a skinny Korean-American boy whose Americanness and sexuality are constantly questioned; who meets a curvy redhead struggling with a difficult home life and abusive stepfather; who bond over Joy Division, X-Men comics, and ragging on those stupid lovesick teens in Shakespeare‘s play. Oh, and it’s set in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1986. In short: We cannot wait.
Entertainment Weekly and Rowell shared the announcement that DreamWorks had acquired the film rights, and that Rowell herself would be taking the first stab at the screenplay. “Every girl who has read it says, ‘That was me in high school, or that was me in 7th grade,'” said Holly Bario, DreamWorks president of production. “It reminded all of us of our own sort of awkwardness, or family dysfunction.” What also has us hopeful about the adaptation is how the studio seems to get what the meat of the story is: “It’s not the typical story where the ugly duckling is in love with the hot guy. They’re both trying to find their way. They’re both outcasts.”
What we’re most enjoying, however, is Rowell’s commentary on Twitter:
Recognizing readers’ apprehensions regarding book adaptations, Rowell is being refreshingly upfront and realistic about the entire thing. While she’s writing the first draft of the screenplay, she clarifies her involvement:
I appreciate her making the distinction very early in the process, because even when it comes to a beloved series like The Hunger Games, you’re never going to satisfy everyone, be it in casting decisions or the director’s choice of which scenes to include or cut. The readers who fell for Eleanor & Park will always have that love story—but now we have the opportunity for bringing the music, the awkwardness, and the slow bloom of teenage love to life just as vividly as in our imaginations.
Rowell has also already established her greatest fear (which we share):
Finally, she lamented never writing a role for Benedict Cumberbatch. (Would he be too old to play Lincoln from Attachments?) If Rowell keeps tweeting like this during the screenplay process, I’ll never stop watching her Twitter stream.
Not that more people needed the opportunity to discover Eleanor & Park, but I’m so, so excited about this adaptation. OK, last tweets for now:
Us too, Rainbow. Us too.
Fan art by Simini Blocker