Director Chris Columbus is moving into literature after writing his debut novel for young adults. The Home Alone filmmaker has co-written a book with author Ned Vizzini, entitled House of Secrets, which he hopes will be the first in a trilogy.
The project started out as a screenplay, but Columbus decided to release his tale as a novel because there isn't "enough money on Earth to turn it into a film".
Columbus insists the story will resonate with fans of his hit film The Goonies, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "When Ned and I were putting together House of Secrets, I felt that this is really a first cousin to Goonies thematically. That's the spirit I wrote the book with. I felt I hadn't written that kind of story since Goonies."
The book has already been given a great review from the moviemaker's toughest critic - his son Brendan, who is at film school.
Columbus adds, "My son is relentlessly critical... He stole the book off my desk, didn't tell me, and left on a plane to New York. I got a call and he said, 'I just want to tell you. I read half of House of Secrets on the flight. I couldn't put it down. Dad, I love it.' That is the best compliment he's ever given me. And he finished that night. I was really touched by that."
The Home Alone director, who stepped behind the camera for the first two Potter adaptations, will release a three-book series published by Harper-Collins.
The middle-grade books, titled House of Secrets, will be co-authored by writer Ned Vizzini. They are expected to hit bookstores and the Internet next year (13).
According to EW.com, Columbus' books will be set in San Francisco, California and chronicle the adventures of the Pagett kids who are forced to live in a creepy, rundown old house, built by a troubled fantasy writer, after their father loses his job.
The director tells the website, "I started it as a screenplay, so there were about 50 pages of a screenplay that would become the first seven or eight chapters of the book... Then I put it away and I didn’t think about it, but it was always coming back to me at some point or another.
"Finally, I thought, 'Maybe this would work as a young adult novel', for no other reason except I really wanted to see it to its conclusion.
"The thing that Ned and I both wanted (was) to do anything we can do to get kids back into reading and make it really, really fun. I’m not presumptuous enough to say, 'We’re going to take over the Potter series,' but I got to see firsthand how that series affected kids and how it got so many hundreds of thousands of kids into reading. You hope for just a section of that in terms of being able to inspire kids to read."
September 22, 2010 12:10pm EST
On the hit television show The Secret Life of the American Teenager protagonist Amy Juergens has to deal with high school drama boy troubles the needs of her young child and more making her days at Ulysses S. Grant High School far from ideal. In reality the lives of youngsters are even more complicated as all of the above in addition to peer pressure academic competition and the age-old quest to be cool can overwhelm the most focused individual.
Writers-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Half Nelson) both dramatize and make light of the plight of pubescents in their sweet new film It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Based on Ned Vizzini’s novel which chronicles a lonesome teen’s brief stay at an adult psychiatric ward it is a very funny story but the filmmakers keep it levelheaded with melancholy supporting characters and a message about the affliction of our society’s medicated youth.
Keir Gilchrist (The United States of Tara) plays Craig a chronically depressed Brooklyn teen who checks in for treatment after contemplating suicide. An over-achiever caught up in the rat race that is the American Dream Craig’s pessimism and depression stem from neglectful parents more concerned with him gaining acceptance into an elite school than following his passions. His anxiety is aggravated by the dreadful current events of our time notably the wars and financial meltdown that have crippled the aspirations of much of our country’s youth. Though he is a bit over-dramatic Craig’s ailment does raise notable points about paternal priorities and an entire generation of disheartened dreamers.
But surrounded by the hospital’s eccentric group of patients including Emma Roberts’ damaged love interest Noelle and Zach Galifianakis’ emotionally guarded Bobby Craig makes a psychological breakthrough. Gilchrist is like the love child of Justin Long and Jay Baruchel but isn’t nearly as fun to watch as either of those hot-at-the-moment performers save for one Flight of the Conchords moment in the middle of the movie. It’s not that he’s unconvincing; he’s just dull. Luckily Galifianakis steals the show at every turn giving his first ever three-dimensional performance and earning all the attention he’s been getting lately.
Had its story been laid out ordinarily It’s Kind of a Funny Story wouldn’t have been nearly as affecting as it is. But a series of funky flashbacks quirky cut-scenes and animated sequences make the film’s otherwise predictable narrative abstract original and refreshing.