Coen brothers to re-write UNBROKEN screenplay




As reported in an exclusive for the Hollywood Reporter,  Ethan and Joel Coen "have been tapped to rewrite Unbroken, the adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 book, for Universal -- which has been trying to mount a Zamperini story in some form or fashion for decades Universal picked up the rights to the book in January 2011, initially for Francis Lawrence to direct."


Angelina Jolie came on board in December, and has reportedly been looking for "top flight" writers for this project. She has spent weeks searching for "top-flight writers" to tackle the project.


Read the entire article here.

I originally spotlighted UNBROKEN here on Novel Chatter in November, 2010  and am still mesmerized by Louis Zamperini.

Here's a bit about this amazing book:
On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood.  Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared.  It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard.  So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini.  In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails.  As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile.  But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater.  Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion.  His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit.  Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

Published November 16th 2010 by Random House

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train by William Kuhn

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train

By William Kuhn
Harper Collins,

Available for various e-readers, MP3 audio, CD, Audible, etc.
In paperback Oct. 2013

From the publisher:  After decades of service and years of watching her family’s troubles splashed across the tabloids, Britain’s Queen is beginning to feel her age. She needs some proper cheering up. An unexpected opportunity offers her relief: an impromptu visit to a place that holds happy memories—the former royal yacht, Britannia, now moored near Edinburgh. Hidden beneath a skull-emblazoned hoodie, the limber Elizabeth (thank goodness for yoga) walks out of Buckingham Palace into the freedom of a rainy London day and heads for King’s Cross to catch a train to Scotland. But a characterful cast of royal attendants has discovered her missing. In uneasy alliance a lady-in-waiting, a butler, an equerry, a girl from the stables, a dresser, and a clerk from the shop that supplies Her Majesty’s cheese set out to find her and bring her back before her absence becomes a national scandal. 
MRS QUEEN TAKES THE TRAIN offers a fresh new look at a seemingly arcane institution and a woman who wonders if she, too, has become a relic of the past. It's about British social, political, and generational rivalries—between upstairs and downstairs, the monarchy and the government, the old and the young. The story tweaks the pomp of the British monarchy, going beneath its rigid formality to reveal the human heart of the woman at its center.

My thoughts: Anyone who has spent any time here on my blog knows that I am pretty much a "sucker" for anything British. I'm an Anglophile. There, I said it. Sign me up for Anglophiles Anonymous.  So, was predisposed to LOVE this book. I have a great admiration for HRH Queen Elizabeth and of her unfailing service to her country and its people.  I really wanted to LOVE this book. I liked parts of it, but I didn't love it. Blimey, that makes me sad. 

Mrs. Queen Takes the Train is the first novel by author and historian William Kuhn, his background in writing has a British slant and I was excited to be able to read the book. I dived in and then...stopped. The book opened with a really believable "back story" explaining where the Queen's nickname "Lilibet" came from, that it was actually a child's version of "a little bit." Seems the Nanny had told the very young Princess Elizabeth that she could only have "a little bit" of cake, and the child repeated what she heard "lilibet."  And there was her nickname. Cute! Really true? Who knows. Imagining the Queen struggling with Twitter, FaceBook and realizing that people would impersonate someone from the royal family online was something she wasn't used to seeing! Pretending to be her daughter-in-law, announcing that it was "gin o'clock" was something she couldn't believe. Great stuff so far, I thought.

 About three fourths of my way into the book, I reached the point where I disconnected. I walked away from  this book for a few months, but I did go back and finish it.  I was very intrigued by the plot line description, and loved the interactions with of people within her staff..  I could see HRH out in the rain,  putting on the slicker offered by young Rebecca, one of the staff who looks after the Royal horses.  I loved the idea of The Queen wandering around London in a slicker with a skull on the back and a package of cigarettes and a knife in the pocket.  You see the Queen was getting a bit restless, and she missed being able to get away on the now de-commissioned royal yacht.  What better way than to just take yourself out on the street and maybe find the Britannia?! She then encounters Rajiv, an employee at a cheese shop and I just prayed that he wasn't going to be a major character. But since we'd already had back story on him, I knew he was a major player. Problem being, I didn't like him or trust him. However,  I rather enjoyed the bickering between the Queen's palace staff, including Shirley, one of the Queen's dressers Lady Anne Bevil, Lady-in-waiting, companion and somewhat of a secretary to the Queen.

Then she finally gets to the train, with staffers of all kinds trailing a distance behind her, and it's right past this point where I gave up. I know that the secondary characters need to provide background and offer other story lines and complications, but you see, I didn't care about them,  I didn't want  or need to know so much about lives of the gay staff members and how many gay versus straight people there were on staff.  I wasn't expecting so much in the way of an agenda woven into what I thought was going to be an adventure with the Queen "on the lam" so to speak, as she escapes her world for a while, and in turn, we will escape ours and join her for a fun day's adventure. 

After finishing the book, I can say that at the root, Mr. Kuhn told a great story, and his knowledge of things "royal" was clear to see as the story unfolded and the Queen's ride in search of the Brittania took place. However, it just wasn't the ride I was expecting.

So, to be fair to Mr. Kuhn, I will give it 3 1/2 out of 5 stars as it's not his fault I expected something else. 

**This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Congratulations Chris Terrio for his ARGO win!

ARGO is based on the book "The Master of Disguise" (selection) (as Antonio J. Mendez), and the article "Escape from Tehran" by Joshuah Bearman.

Congratulations to Chris Terrio for his award for ARGO, in the Best Adapted Screen Play category!

And the winner is....

Oscar® weekend is here, and there are some great films nominated based on books, stories, plays or articles.

I can't help but wonder which will take home that coveted golden statue? Tune in to ABC Sunday night, you can also access the complete list of nominees here on the official site. !  We'll talk about this on Monday!  

Best Picture

Based on the book "The Master of Disguise" (selection) (as Antonio J. Mendez), and the article "Escape from Tehran" by Joshuah Bearman

"Django Unchained" 
django unchained 5

**"Les Miserables" 
Les Miserables
Based on the novel by Victor Hugo

**"Life of Pi"
life of pi 5
Based on the novel by Yann Martel

amour 1

lincoln 1
Based on the novel by Doris Kearns Goodwin  

**"Silver Linings Playbook"
silver linings playbook 3
Based on the novel by Matthew Quick

"Zero Dark Thirty"
1134604  Zero Dark Thirty

**"Beasts of the Southern Wild"
beast of the southern wild 4

Based in the stage play "Juicy and Delicious"  by Lucy Alibar

**signifies film based on a previously published work.

All images found here, and are copyright by their respective owners, no copyright infringement is intended.

And let's don't forget the Best Adapted Screenplay category

Adapted Screenplay


This grabbed my attention...coming March 26

Therese Anne Fowler
St. Martin's Press

From the publisher:

I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we’re ruined, Look closer…and you’ll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.

When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.
What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.
Everything seems new and possible.

Be sure to check out the author's official page here.

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

OK I admit it, I'm a sucker for Tucker the Terrier!  I love all of the Tucker books for kids and buy them like crazy when new little ones come into my world.  Author Leslie McGuirk  is brilliant!

So to wish each of you a very happy St. Valentine's day, how about reading this Valentine's book to the kids in your life?   OK, I'm a sucker for little kids too, and they tend to get ignored today.  lol

Cover art source

The Comfort of Lies by Randy Susan Meyers

The Comfort of Lies
by Randy Susan Meyers

Atria Books
$25.00 hard back,
also on e-books, mp3 cds

in stores now

From the publisher:  

Happiness at someone else’s expense came at a price. Tia had imagined judgment from the first kiss that she and Nathan shared. All year, she’d waited to be punished for being in love, and in truth, she believed that whatever consequences came her way would be deserved.” Five years ago, Tia fell into obsessive love with a man she could never have. Married, and the father of two boys, Nathan was unavailable in every way. When she became pregnant, he disappeared, and she gave up her baby for adoption.
Five years ago, Caroline, a dedicated pathologist, reluctantly adopted a baby to please her husband. She prayed her misgivings would disappear; instead, she’s questioning whether she’s cut out for the role of wife and mother.
 Five years ago, Juliette considered her life ideal: she had a solid marriage, two beautiful young sons, and a thriving business. Then she discovered Nathan’s affair. He promised he’d never stray again, and she trusted him.
 But when Juliette intercepts a letter to her husband from Tia that contains pictures of a child with a deep resemblance to her husband, her world crumbles once more. How could Nathan deny his daughter? And if he’s kept this a secret from her, what else is he hiding? Desperate for the truth, Juliette goes in search of the little girl. And before long, the three women and Nathan are on a collision course with consequences that none of them could have predicted."

Randy Susan Meyers has crafted a heartwarming but seriously affecting book. Not much happens in the way of action, this is more like a play, where the action is driven through words and character interactions. Don't let that scare you off!  This book is truly crafted so well, so seamlessly, that you quickly turn page after page, watching these women learn truths, discovering lies, and begin to question their own reasons for  their feelings,actions and reactions.

Three women thrown together because one, Tia, had an affair with a married man and that affair produced a baby. Three women who control each other's lives, whether they want to or not. In the center of them all is the little five year old. I love that the author made adoption an option here, my favorite family member was adopted and so I am aware of the joys and complications that come with adoption.

The Comfort of Lies brings us together as a family or group of friends. See, I really liked each of the women, Tia, Carolyn and Juliette. Author Randy Susan Meyers has written real people, we know women like them, we are women like them. We make bad choices for the wrong reason, we make good choices for the wrong reason, we make good choices for the right reasons and we all make good choices for the best of reasons. We do the best that we can. Who's to know how our choices affect people we don't know? We have to live with those choices, and I like the way the characters dealt with and worked out their emotions, in real and believable ways. I haven't read a book that dealt with real live issues in such an honest way, no fantasy endings and no fairy tale unreality. But I can promise a strong, believable ending.

The Comfort of Lies takes the reader in a wonderful, thought provoking journey, I can see this being a great book club selection because the situations and the women are so wonderfully written, it automatically opens the door for discussions.

I can't drag you to a book store or an online book seller, but I can tell you that I think it's worth your time and money to add this to your "need to read" list. Matter of fact, bump it to the top. I did.

I'm adding it to my own book club selections, I hope you read it, it's heart warming and heart breaking. Both in a good way.

I sure hope Ms. Meyers' agent is actively looking for someone to option The Comfort of Lies for a movie or a play adaptation, it'd be perfect!

5 out of 5 stars!

Cover art:  Atria/Simon & Schuster

This e-galley was provided to me by the publishers through NetGalley in exchange for a true and honest review.

Merciless by Lori Armstrong

From the publisher:   

Torn between her duties to the FBI and her need to keep her loved ones safe, former black-ops army sniper Mercy Gunderson must unleash the cold, dark, merciless killer inside her and become the predator . . . rather than the prey.
Due to job confidentiality, Mercy can’t discuss her misgivings about the baffling cases with her boyfriend, Eagle River County sheriff Mason Dawson, and the couple’s home on the ranch descends into chaos when Dawson’s eleven-year-old son Lex is sent to live with them. While Mercy struggles to find a balance, hidden political agendas and old family vendettas turn ugly, masking motives and causing a rift among the tribal police, the tribal council, and the FBI. Soon, however, Mercy realizes that the deranged killer is still at large—and is playing a dangerous game with his sights set on Mercy as his next victim.
When tragedy strikes again, Mercy is ready to throw all her energy into her own investigation, and she’s out for revenge. As she digs up the truth behind the shocking crimes, Mercy uncovers dark and dangerous secrets and must race to stop a killer before everything she’s fought for is destroyed forever.
Newly minted agent Mercy Gunderson is back and ready for action- unfortunately, she’s stuck doing paperwork in an overheated government office building. But she gets more than she bargained for when she’s thrown into her first FBI murder case, working with the tribal police on the Eagle River Reservation, where the victim is the teenage niece of the recently elected tribal president. When another gruesome killing occurs during the early stages of the investigation, Mercy and fellow FBI agent Shay Turnbull are at odds about whether the crimes are connected.

My thoughts about Merciless up next!
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