Tag: Lin Manuel Miranda

New Trailer for BBC’s ‘His Dark Materials’ Drops, and I’m Excited

Philip Pullman’s astounding His Dark Materials trilogy suffered a serious blow when, in 2007, it was the victim of what was one of the worst book-to-film adaptations in history, in my opinion. I have previously written about my (very strong) feelings regarding a number of disastrous Hollywood adaptations of children’s books, but I truly feel that Chris Weitz’s The Golden Compass wins the Oscar for Worst Adaptation, Really Terrible, or as I like to call it when awarding the recipients in my head: W.A.R.T. Because I feel that I expressed my needlessly intense feelings adequately the last time I wrote about this, here is a quote from my original article on children’s adaptations that have personally offended me:

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is arguably one of the most intricate, marvelous, and thought-provoking series in the history of fiction. It deals with vast concepts using incredible characters, and is set against the backdrop of a meticulously constructed world. The film, however, is more along the lines of ‘haha look at this talking polar bear.’  A hideously miscast monstrosity, The Golden Compass dumbed down and abbreviated this text almost beyond recognition, no doubt deterring a great number of potential readers from the books. I will never forgive anyone who was involved in its making and will be angry about it forever.

Frankly, I don’t care if you think I’m being dramatic; my rage at Weitz’s film will never be soothed. However, when it was announced that the BBC would be taking a whack at adapting the trilogy, I was a little more hopeful. A television series gives a story space to breathe, it gives concepts room to be explored, which is exactly what a plot as complex as Pullman’s requires if it is to stand any chance at translating well to screen.

A teaser trailer for the upcoming series, (starring Lin Manuel Miranda, James McAvoy, Dafne Keen and Ruth Wilson) has just been released, and I must say, it looks promising. While the 2007 version relied heavily on CGI, the novelty of a talking bear, (who is a very serious character, actually) and the dumbing down of the plot in an attempt to fit it into two hours, this version seems less preoccupied with rendering the text digestible, and more devoted to the unsettling, genuinely frightening, and intriguing energy of the book. In addition to this, Dafne Keen seems well-equipped to carry off the role of Lyra, having won Best Female Newcomer at this year’s Empire Awards for her role as Laura opposite Hugh Jackman in Logan. Keen and Jackman also won Best Duo at the MTV Movie & TV Awards and over the last two years, she has accumulated eight additional nominations for her roles in Logan and The Refugees. So in short, despite my unnecessarily strong feelings about the first adaptation, I am more than willing to be optimistic about BBC’s take on it.

Check out the trailer below and see if you can obsess as hard as I can!



Featured Image Via IGN.com


Lin-Manuel Miranda Saves a Popular Drama Book Shop from Closing

The star of Mary Poppins Returns is once again showing his love for the performing arts. The New York Times has reported that Lin-Manuel Miranda, the actor and playwright who brought us In The Heights and Hamilton: An American Musical, has just purchased The Drama Book Shop in order to save it from closing. Could he be anymore awesome?




Miranda now co-owns the bookstore along with Thomas Kail the director of Hamilton, James L. Nederlander president of the Nederlander Organization, the owner of the theater that the show is currently performing in, and Jeffrey Seller, the show’s producer.


The bookstore is a popular venue amongst playwrights like Miranda himself. In an interview with the Times, Miranda said that he frequented the bookshop in his early years:


“When I was in high school I would go to the old location and sit on the floor and read plays — I didn’t have the money to buy them. After college Tommy Kail and I met in the Drama Book Shop basement, and I wrote a good deal of ‘In the Heights’ there.”


The century-old store, located on 250 West 40th Street, will go into storage on January 20th and will reopen in a new location that is currently unknown, the company’s website stated. No matter the location, we are ready to read.



Featured Image Via The New York Times

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Name of the Wind, Sam Raimi

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘The Name of the Wind’ Taps Sam Raimi to Direct

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s adaptation of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicle series is actually moving forward, as Variety reports the production has approached Sam Raimi to direct. Lionsgate brought Miranda onboard in 2016 to produce and score the movie, and word is they’re now bringing on Raimi to helm the project.


Raimi is fairly familiar with literary adaptations, as the last movie he directed was 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful, which took heavy inspiration from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series. Also, Raimi directed the original Spider-Man trilogy—the Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst ones.


Name of the Wind

Image Via Amazon


The Kingkiller Chronicle movie will reportedly be an adaptation of Rothfuss’ first novel in the series, The Name of the WindThe script will be penned by Transformers: The Last Knight screenwriter Lindsey Beer. Beer’s previous writing credit may not excite fans of Rothfuss’ series, but she’s an up-and-coming screenwriter who has a lot of exciting projects on the docket (Godzilla vs. Kong, Dungeons & Dragons). I’m not the only one excited for those, right?


Raimi hasn’t directed anything since 2013 and has instead been focused on producing (such as Ash vs. The Evil Dead, which everybody should be watching). Personally, I think Raimi’s style would suit Rothfuss’ extremely well. Raimi has a proven old-fashioned eye that can manage both horror, humor, and romance all in one scene, as evinced by his magnum opus: Spider-Man 2. Rewatch that movie. It’s perfect.


Simultaneously, Showtime is developing a Kingkiller Chronicle TV series. Fans of Rothfuss have a ton to look forward to. Plus, Rothfuss has been an outspoken advocate of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s involvement.


Are you excited for Raimi’s involvement? Or did you have other dream directors in mind? Let us know in the comments!


Feature Images Via Slate, Amazon, and THR

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Showtime logo

Showtime Picks Up Lin-Manuel Miranda & Patrick Rothfuss’ ‘The Kingkiller Chronicle’ Series!

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the man who turned the U.S.’s founding fathers into rappers, may be providing the world its next Game of Thrones-level fantasy TV series. Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles will be coming to Showtime and my fantasy-reading friends are pretty stoked.


Lionsgate is also planning a trilogy of Rothfuss’ novels, but the Showtime series will be a prequel. It takes place in the same universe and will tell an origin story set a generation before The Name of the Wind (the first novel). 


Patrick Rothfuss

Image Via The Hollywood Reporter


It might seem like a weird coupling, Miranda and Rothfuss, but Rothfuss only had nice things to say about working with the Hamilton writer. Speaking to Vulture, Rothfuss said


I’ve told Lin many times, ‘There’s no degree you can be involved in this project that will not please me.’ He is full of joy, and he is disgustingly talented. Why wouldn’t you want to, you know, interact with that person as much as possible, either in projects or just in your day-to-day life?


Sounds like Rothfuss and Miranda have a budding friendship. It’s a good thing too. Miranda’s pretty prolific, so maybe that will rub off on Rothfuss. Fans are still waiting on the finale to The Kingkiller Chronicle. The Name of the Wind came out in 2007 and the follow-up, The Wise Man’s Fear, in 2011.


But don’t go asking Rothfuss where the third book is. He might be polite and say something like, “Oh, it’ll be here soon.” But what he’ll really be thinking, he said to Vulture, is, “just fuck off. Just die. I don’t need any more of that in my life.” His tongue, I’m sure, was in-cheek. Don’t worry, fans. He’s not actually telling you to do those things. Hey, if you were in his position, you might feel the same.


Feature Images Via Billboard and Showtime

MPAA rating

Why Book Trailers Will Always Be Lame

A lot of people show up twenty minutes late to movies so they don’t have to see the trailers. I get it. They’re ads. But they’re also my and many others’ favorite part of going to the movies. Even if a movie is bad (recently, The Snowman), the trailer can be good (it was). It’s like a three minute synopsis of the movie’s plot, tone, and emotions. There’s so much to love about them. And the way they’re presented, you might get a thriller followed by a romance and then a comedy. It’s a whole range of emotions; it’s like a movie buffet.


Even if you don’t share my love for movie trailers, though, you can appreciate the logic of shortening a movie’s runtime to a few minutes. Shots from the movie are cut and composed to give audiences a preview of what to expect.


The same can’t be said for book trailers. Books are made of words, not film. The images are in the reader’s head, and they have to be constructed over a period of time, not in twenty-four frames per second.


When a publisher tries to translate the elusive tone of a thriller novel (say, specifically, Krysten Ritter’s upcoming Bonfire) in a very straight-faced way, the results will be lackluster. But judge for yourself.



Book trailers started picking up steam in the early 2000s, which made sense because the internet was making itself clear that it wouldn’t be leaving us alone. You can understand the publishers’ instinct to capitalize on YouTube. What better way to advertise books than copy what movies are doing? Well, there are better ways, especially better than ham-fisted attempts to translate full length novels into low budget thirty-second YouTube videos.


The central problem is that books are a different medium than movies. Movie trailers make sense because trailers are just shorter versions of the movie. The equivalent for books would be excerpts, which are fine, but will never be as sexy and immediate as movie trailers.


They’ll also never be as effectively distributed. The tactic publishers seem to be using to promote their book trailers is to upload them to YouTube, send them to a few book-news outlets, and then hope they go viral. But there’s no reason for the trailer for Dean Koontz’s upcoming The Whispering Room to go viral. There’s no hook.


Relying on shares and likes and tweets will never match the method of distribution movie trailers have. When you see any movie, there will be at least fifteen minutes of trailers. That’s just how it goes. There’s no way to replicate that in book world.


Shooting a trailer that tries to get across the feeling of a book will almost certainly result in something slightly off-putting. But there are other ways to do book trailers. Gary Shteyngart (famed book blurber) has become what The New Yorker called “the leading book-trailer auteur of our time.”


Instead of trying to translate his books into a visual medium, Shteyngart just does his own thing. He stars in the trailer for his 2010 novel Super Sad True Love Story along with, erm, James Franco. The trailer is essentially about Shteyngart’s odd status as an author. His job is made easier by having a sense of humor and a willingness to be self-deprecating. The trailer has over 300,000 views on Youtube, which is pretty astonishing considering what it is.



If the goal of book trailers is to ape the movie industry’s advertising strategies, then the publishing industry should be a bit more creative. Books and movies might be different artistic mediums, but some of the things that make movies so fun could be applied to books. People like movies for a ton of reasons, but one is that it’s a communal experience. You are sitting with and reacting alongside other people. And when the movie’s out, you know you have something to talk to other people about. By focusing on communal reading experiences, publishers can start to foster the same sort of feeling among readers as moviegoers. As long as reading feels solitary, it won’t be as sexy as movies.


That goal, though, to make books as sexy as movies, is misguided in the first place. That shouldn’t be publishers’ aspiration. ‘Sexy’ isn’t what books have got going for them; they’re smart. And they’re funny too. It’s time for publishers to ditch on-the-nose, low-budget book trailers and instead go in the direction of the true book promo geniuses like Shteyngart. I’ll leave you with a hopeful glimpse into the future of online book promos in support of Laura Moses and Ben Schwartz’s Things You Should Already Know About Dating, You F*cking Idiot, featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda and, um, J. J. Abrams.



Feature Image Via No Film School