In August it was announced that Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock would be joining the adaptation of Everything Is Illuminated author Jonathan Safran Foer’s second book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. John Goodman has just joined the cast of the film, completing the film’s triumvirate of actors who are genuinely great, but are also at the top of the list for leads in sappy, pandering melodrama. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has many of the markings of being exactly that kind of a film, with a script from Forrest Gump and Benjamin Button writer Eric Roth which adapts what is said to be an extremely saccharine novel. The book was put under a lot of scrutiny for employing 9/11 as a backdrop for what some considered an otherwise thin story, and even became the target of a fairly vicious screed by Harry Siegel in the New York press that called out Foer as “a hack” in the title!

There’s nothing wrong with telling a story related to September 11th, but much of what’s been done in films so far has been cloyingly sentimental, or fairly bland stories that attempt “bravery” by invoking (rather than processing or commenting on) the events. Having not read the novel I can’t speak to how effectively Foer integrates the national tragedy into his story of a quirky young boy searching for the answer to a key left behind by his father, who died in the North tower. And to be fair to Eric Roth, he’s also spun tragedies and historical events into scripts for some excellent films- Munich and The Good Shepherd. There’s also the interesting element of Foer’s book design, which integrates typography, blank pages, pictures, and page layout to add to the story- perhaps there will be some attempt to translate that freedom of format to the film.

Goodman’s role is that of the doorman of the main character’s apartment, who apparently “goes on a trip to exhume the father’s coffin.” Hanks and Bullock’s roles haven’t been specified, but they are very like portraying the boys parents, or even being “aged-up” to portray the boy’s grandparents, who play an important role. Nick broke down the possibilities in his article quite wonderfully.

Stephen Daldry (The Hours, The Reader) will be directing the film, and is said to be seeking a release near the 10th anniversary of the event. Good timing, or an overly sentimental cash-in? Got thoughts on this movie, or the idea of movies revolving around 9/11 in general? Let us know on the boards or in the comments.

Source | Reuters