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David S. Goyer to Sherlock Holmes-ify Count of Monte Cristo
by Susana Polo | 2:44 pm, March 20th, 2013
This is merely a portion of a diagram of the character relationships in The Count of Monte Cristo that I inexpertly threw together in Microsoft OneNote ages ago for no reason other than that I really kinda like the book a lot.
And the reason why I even read the book is because I saw the shlocky 2002 adaptation that drastically simplified the original plot, and inferred, rightly, that a movie could not contain that many adventure tropes without most of them actually appearing in a very likely much more complicated book. So I’m certainly not against movie adaptations of The Count of Monte Cristo in principle. I’m just not sure if this new one is looking like it’s going to have much more to say than the 2002 version.
David S. Goyer, writer behind the Nolan Batman trilogy and Man of Steel is tapped to make the movie… but not to write it. He’ll be in the directors chair on this one, helming a feature film for the first time 2009. While I can’t argue with his writing chops, his feature directing portfolio includes The Unborn, The Invisible, and Blade: Trinity and not much else. Writing duties went to Michael Robert Johnson, of Sherlock Holmes, that is, the Robert Downey, Jr./Jude Law Sherlock Holmes, and the whole shebang is being produced by Jeremy Bolt, of Death Race and the 2011 The Three Musketeers.
At this point you should have figured what all of these make when you put them together: the ever so vaguely steampunk (but no so much as to freak out a mainstream audience like in Three Musketeers) self-referentiality of Sherlock Holmes is going to be spread lightly over a bombastic version of The Count of Monte Cristo‘s newly-simplified plot, with plenty of granary explosions and sword fights to keep things from “slowing down.”
Which is not to say I won’t go see that just to watch the
train stagecoach-wreck in action (and also on the off chance that it manages to be genuinely enjoyable), but as somebody who’s actually devoured The Count more than once, I’d just like to point out that even without Hollywood embellishment, extra explosions, or gritty realism thrown in, the book already includes more than its fair share of epic bombast. To quote from the introduction of my annotated copy, the story features “a female serial poisoner, two cases of infanticide, a stabbing and three suicides; an extended scene of torture and execution; drug-induced sexual fantasies, illegitimacy, transvestism and lesbianism; a display of the author’s classical learning, and his knowledge of modern European history, the customs and diet of the Italians, the effects of hashish, and so on.” Not to mention a kidnapping from the middle of Rome during Carnival by a bandit lord named Luigi Vampa, the aforementioned lesbian elopement, secret murders that ruin family standings years down the line, and a major character who can only communicate by blinking. Additionally, fans of Game of Thrones and Les Miserables will feel right at home with its “KILL/IMPOVERISH EVERYONE” ending, the moral of which is that righteous revenge is still worth it if innocent people suffer, as long as some of the innocent people don’t suffer, an ending that, I might ad, the 2002 adaptation didn’t have the guts to deliver on.
(via The Hollywood Reporter.)
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