Not to be confused with Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, Warner Bros has announced that they are debuting a film adaptation of the 1983 novel Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. They also announced today that the leading lady in the new movie is Jessica Brown Findlay from Downton Abbey. Jessica played the role of Lady Sybill Crawley in Downton Abbey but is swapping that character for the challenge of playing a a dying woman who falls in love with a thief who breaks into her palatial Manhattan mansion. The story takes place in both 19th century and contemporary New York and the original novel is a mythical masterpiece. There is also discussions of cameo roles by Russell Crowe and Will Smith. Have you read the novel, are you excited about this film adaptation?
The rest of the cast is being filled out but at this stage only JBF has been officially cast. They are apparently in negotiations though with Russell Crowe to play half a demon named Pearly Soames, and Will Smith is rumored to be attached as well. I wouldn’t have thought that this would be the type of film for Will, but I guess you never know, huh?
This film kind of reminds me of Madonna’s directorial debut film, W.E which was also set in both modern day and 19th century Manhattan, but that is where the similarities end. Helprin’s novel takes place in a mythical New York City, markedly different than our own. In the story, NYC is a somewhat apocalyptic chaos land and the characters are visionary, extraordinary and allegorical. The novel is excellent, and if you haven’t read it I recommend getting to it before the film comes out. The novel has a similar feel to the magic realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Salman Rushdie.
I am always a little apprehensive about novel to film adaptations, especially those with a mythical, almost magic realism qualities to them. Film can really destroy that ethereal quality that comes from a well written novel. Still, this is an exciting one to watch out for. Shooting will begin October in New York so we can expect to hear more info about this one in the coming months. Peter Lake is the central character of Winter’s Tale so I am really keen to see who is cast in this role. It too requires an actor that will embrace a magic realism character. In the original story Peter is described as a messiah. Who do you want to play this role?