Wednesday 20 September 2017

Reel Life

Declan Cashin

The trailer dropped this week for the forthcoming drama Saving Mr Banks, the 1960s-set, more-or-less true story of the fraught relationship between Walt Disney (played here by Tom Hanks) and author PL Travers (Emma Thompson, below) in the run-up to the Mouse House's screen adaptation of her Mary Poppins books.

What's interesting about the movie, though, is that it puts the spotlight back on Travers, a most fascinating woman, whose private life was anything but simple.

For instance, later biographies identified her as bisexual and, at aged 40, she adopted an Irish baby boy, but not his twin brother, apparently on the advice of her astrologer (and this was a year after she attempted to adopt her teenage maid).

Aged 17, that boy, named Camillus Travers Hone, randomly met his twin brother in a pub (he died in London in 2011).

Travers died in 1996 aged 96. Expect to read a lot more about her and her work in the coming months.

* The Light House Cinema/Chapters book club has announced its roster of reading choices (and their subsequent film adaptations) for the rest of the year.

First up is Cruel Intentions (based on the novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses) on July 29; Ghost World (the club's first graphic novel pick) on August 26; Apocalypse Now (loosely based on Conrad's Heart of Darkness) on September 30; Misery, based on Stephen King's novel, on October 28; and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, adapted from Hunter S Thompson's book, on November 25.

See www.lighthousecinema.ie for more details.

* Continuing the book-to-screen theme, it seems Ben Affleck is close to signing on to play the male lead in the planned adaptation of Gillian Flynn's best-seller Gone Girl.

No word yet on who will play the crucial role of protagonist Amy, though, personally, Reel Life is keeping its fingers crossed that Emily Blunt gets the part. And every other part going in Hollywood. Because we love her.

* Can Andrew Garfield get more adorable? No, seriously, can he? Talking to Entertainment Weekly recently, Garfield (inset) mentioned how he's had discussions with the makers of Spider-Man in which he raised the prospect of Peter Parker's future love interest, MJ Watson, being played by a man.

"Why can't we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality?" said Garfield.

"It's hardly even groundbreaking! So why can't he be gay?

"Why can't he be into boys?"

Andrew even had an actor in mind to play MJ – Chronicle star Michael B Jordan, who is about to have a massive breakthrough year (and possibly even an Oscar nomination) with his upcoming movie, Fruitvale Station.

* Lastly, given what's been dominating the news in this country over the past fortnight, Reel Life came across a fascinating article on the excellent Film School Rejects site, entitled 'A Brief (Almost Silent) History of Abortion in the Movies'.

The earliest reference in the movies is dated back to the 1916 film, Where Are My Children?, but, apart from a muted reference in the 1930s Clark Gable project Men in White, Hollywood went almost decades without tackling the issue.

The most high-profile films from the past 40 years to brave the subject have been Cabaret, the Irish-made Circle of Friends (below), The Cider House Rules, and (people often seem to forget amidst all the strutting) Dirty Dancing.

Irish Independent

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