I am really dragging ass today. Just completely exhausted. I blame my tired eyes for mistaking “John Krasinski is writing and directing an adaptation of a David Foster Wallace book” for “Jane Krakowski is writing and directing an adaptation of a David Foster Wallace book.” At first I was all WTF????, and then I saw the name correctly and I was much more WTF????.
John Krasinski is one of the stars of NBC’s version of The Office – he plays Jim, the US version of the Martin Freeman character. He seems nice enough. But adapting David Foster Wallace? Obviously Krasinski has some sort of experience that isn’t listed on his IMDB page that makes him fit to even consider this endeavor.
First of all, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men is the book, which is a collection of short stories interspersed with the titular interviews. It’s not exactly something that shouts “Cinema!” to me, but I can see it being done in some horrible Crash-like way (although Krasinski will surely be shooting for Short Cuts).
That’s all prelude to the main point: why the fuck would you want to adapt David Foster Wallace? He’s a great writer, possibly the best of his generation, but he writes books that are meant to be books. They’re not Michael Crichton screenplays in prose form but actual novels that are very concerned with language. Very, very concerned with language. And style. Everything that is great about the work of David Foster Wallace is great because of the writing. You know, there’s a reason why there have been no really successful Kurt Vonnegut movies, and it’s for the same reason why there will never be a really successful David Foster Wallace movie – except that you can at least read a Vonnegut book and sort of imagine how this could work as a movie. David Foster Wallace books are completely and totally literary in form and intention.
But hey, best of luck to Krasinski. I guess he doesn’t want to be “Jim from The Office” forever, but is “the guy who fucked up that David Foster Wallace movie” a much better distinction?