AfterEllen.com Huddle: Books we want to see adapted for the screen

This week, we got some awesome news that Ellen DeGeneres has bought the rights to Jodi Picoult’s lesbian-themed novel, Sing You Home so she can make it into a film. With some of the best movies having been adapted from books, there are still so many great stories that we’d love to see hit the screen.

So, AfterEllen.com writers, what read do you want to be made into a film?

Heather Hogan: I picked up Cathleen Schine‘s The Three Weissmanns of Westport on a lark, but I wish I’d listened to NPR’s advice and read it the day it came out. It’s a modern adaptation of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, and unlike, say, The Jane Austen Book Club, the prose and wit and satire are actually reminiscent of good ol’ Jane.

The story is ripe for a screenplay adaptation: Two middle aged daughters move from New York City’s Upper East Side to a little cottage on Westport Beach to wait out their mother’s divorce with her. The story is sincere without being sentimental, hilarious without being cheap, and heartbreaking in the very best way. SPOILER ALERT: There’s also a little sapphic twist to Austen’s original narrative, and it made my heart go boom-boom.

The Linster: When I finished The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald, I closed the book in awe, then opened to page 1 and read it again.

Then I got online and tried to track down Jodie Foster, not in the usual fangirl way, but to tell her that her production company needed to buy the rights immediately and make it into a film. I found an email address for producer Meg LeFauve, who used to be president of Egg Pictures (Jodie’s company) and wrote her about the film, asking her to forward the info to Jodie’s company. Incredibly, Meg emailed me back (I love the Internet) and said that, although she was focusing on writing rather than producing these days, she’d forward the info to some of her friends who make heartfelt indie films.

Nothing came of it, but I felt kind of gratified that I might have pointed someone toward this “obscure” book.

Not long after that, I learned about Ann-Marie MacDonald. Her first novel, Fall on Your Knees, was an Oprah Book Club pick and she’s an actor, journalist, playwright — and lesbian — and nothing even close to obscure.

I am such a dork.

Mia Jones: I’m hoping Rubyfruit Jungle will make its way to the screen. A street-smart lesbian who gets into weird situations in order to survive and gets to hop in bed with some hotties along the way without coming to a miserable end? Yes please.

Trish Bendix: Among Other Things, I’ve Given Up Smoking is just begging to be brought to the cinema. Aoibheann Sweeney’s debut novel follows Miranda, an 18-year-old girl who leaves her life in Maine with her reclusive dad to live in New York City and find herself through discovering more about her father’s past at a classical studies institute owned by two gay men. She also finds out about herself in meeting a coffee cart girl named Ana, who she begins to prefer over her boring boyfriend. And if Erin Cressida Wilson could write the screenplay, I would be geeked beyond belief.

Karman Kregloe: Some of my most favorite books, like Marilynne Robinson‘s Housekeeping and Michael Cunningham‘s The Hours, have already been made into films and I wasn’t terribly excited by the results. So I think I’ll stick with a book that’s more easily categorized as “fun” and choose Diana McLellan‘s The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood. Who wouldn’t want to see the alleged affair between Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich play out? Gossipy, scandalous and super gay, I would pay full price at the fancy Arclight theatre (and even buy an extra large popcorn) if this dishy book made it to the big screen.

My second choice would be Florence King‘s Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, detailing her early years growing up in an eccentric, artsy family and slowly figuring out her sexuality. Her assertion that, “no matter which sex I went to bed with, I never smoked on the street” has to make the final cut.

Dara Nai: Bringing a book to the big screen can be a dicey proposition. For every Godfather, there’s a Bonfire of the Vanities. And don’t get me started on How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or as I like to call it, How Jim Carrey Annoyed the Crap Outta Me. But in the Huddle, everything’s a free ride on a pink unicorn and I’m going to assume the film versions of my picks would be perfect. So here goes.

I’d swipe my Amex for a ticket and popcorn to see a film version of Girls, Visions and Everything, by Sarah Schulman. The book follows 20-something New Yorker, Lila Futuransky, a self-described outlaw who carries around a copy of On the Road, gets the ol’ go-away-a-little-closer from a narcissistic actress, and walks around the Lower East Side with Emily, a woman who slowly comes to mean choosing between being in love and having infinite possibilities. Also, there’s some hilarious performance art, sweaty summer sex, and and the best response to an editor’s rejection letter, ever.

I’d also love to see any essay by David Sedaris expanded into a feature film. Some of the best movies are based on short-form prose. Million Dollar Baby, Apocalypse Now, Brokeback Mountain and Stand By Me all started as short stories. I’m sure someone could produce a great script based on his writings about his fruit-loving dad, butchering French while living in France or working as a Macy’s Christmas elf.

Courtney Gillette: I wanna see someone make a movie of Mayra Lazara Dole‘s bright YA novel Down To The Bone. It didn’t get nearly as much press as it deserved, which is a crying shame since its the only YA novel I’ve ever read the includes lesbians, gender queers, fat positive best friends, class consciousness and queers of color all in 367 hot pages.

Set in Miami, protaganist Laura is kicked out of her house and her Catholic school when the nuns discover a love letter Laura writes her girlfriend. Her friends scorn her (she’s dubbed a “tortilleria,” latino slang for dyke), her girlfriend marries a dude in Puerto Rico, and Laura’s life is in the dump. Luckily, she’s got a band of awesome characters in her life, like the saucy Soli, a curvaceous and awesome teen who takes Laura in to live with Soli and her mom. Soon they meet a Cubano genderqueer who loves to dance, and Laura’s beliefs about love and community are buoyed through their adventures.

I can only imagine how awesome this story would blow up on the big screen in all its colorful and fun glory. Rose Troche, Campbell X, are y’all listening? I’ll whip up the script if you shoot the film!

Bridget McManus: She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb. The book is about feisty woman’s journey through her suburban New England existence (wait, is this my memoir?) and was chosen by Oprah for her prestigious Book Club. The book made me laugh, cry and deeply impacted my life. Come on, who doesn’t enjoy crying in a movie theater in front of a bunch of strangers?

Grace Chu: Little Miss Naughty and Little Miss Curious end up as roommates at Smith College. You know what  happens.

Your turn: What book do you want to see make the jump to the big screen?

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