Big books make big movies, or so Hollywood producers think as they routinely spend six — and sometimes seven — figures for the rights. This fall bears the proof: Best-sellers The Joy Luck Club, The Pelican Brief, and The Remains of the Day, and the classic The Age of Innocence have been made into some of the season’s most anticipated films. Check your bookshelf — the titles below are fodder for next year’s films:
· Interview With the Vampire, by Anne Rice. After 15 years of false starts, this gothic horror novel about a Louisiana landowner’s toothy transformation starts filming this October on locations that include Paris, London, New Orleans, and San Francisco. The cast includes Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas, Stephen Rea, and River Phoenix; Neil Jordan (director and Oscar-winning writer of The Crying Game) will direct.
· A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. Steven Soderbergh (King of the Hill) directs the not-yet-cast adaptation of this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about a New Orleans misfit.
· Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley. Denzel Washington has expressed interest in playing private investigator Easy Rawlins, and if all goes well, the role could become a franchise for the actor. Jonathan Demme (Philadelphia) will executive produce.
· The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller. Robert Redford is the leading contender to play a photographer who has a brief but intense love affair with a married woman — a role for which Mary McDonnell, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Isabella Rossellini have all been mentioned. Sydney Pollack may direct.
· The Client, by John Grisham. This suspense novel about a boy who witnesses a suicide is currently filming with Susan Sarandon, Tommy Lee Jones, Anthony LaPaglia, and Mary-Louise Parker. Joel Schumacher directs.
· A Simple Plan, by Scott Smith. Director-producer Mike Nichols has the option on this thriller about two brothers who, after stumbling upon a dead man and more than $4 million, decide to leave the corpse and keep the money.
· Notes From the Country Club, by Kim Wozencraft. Eyeing the lead, Demi Moore has bought the rights to this novel, by the author of Rush, about an abused woman who goes to prison for murdering her husband.