Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Wish list entry #6: "The Buried Giant"

It's certainly been a while since I've devoted a single post to a literary character I'd like to see Meryl portray. If you've regularly read this blog, you know of my obsession with whether or not she was ever going to get to play Hildy Good in an adaptation of Ann Leary's bestselling 2013 novel, The Good House. The proverbial ship has seemingly sailed on that one, and not since 2012 have I suggested a completely original character from the world of fiction.

I honestly don't know what got me thinking about it, but a couple weeks ago I read a little blurb about  how the rights to Kazuo Ishguro's (known for The Remains of the Day) 2015 novel The Buried Giant had been acquired by producer Scott Rudin shortly after the book's release. There has been little to nothing mentioned about any adaptation since, but it got me thinking more about the characters.

I had read the novel around that time and don't recall any news about a screen adaptation. If I had, I probably would've immediately considered whether or not there had been a part suitable for Meryl (as I always do with stories I enjoy). The more I've thought about it now, one of the main characters, Beatrice, could potentially be a interesting role.

At the time I probably didn't really consider that Meryl would be ripe for an "elderly" woman. But if the story takes place in 6th century England, "elderly" may have been like 50. Also, Meryl will be 70 next year, and juicy parts (not there there will be a lot) for that particular demographic and maybe even slightly beyond will not be out of the question. With that in mind, I've been ruminating about the possibility of seeing Meryl tossed into a world not unlike Game of Thrones or The Lord of the Rings.

I've heard the book described as "melancholy" and I think that's a fair word. Beatrice and her husband Axl go on a foot journey to visit their son in another town. The trouble is, the couple's memories (and those of their community) have become increasingly hazy. They meet several characters along the way, fight illnesses and dragons and are posed with challenges to their love for each other. Themes of collective memory after tragedy or war, cultural identity and age are all explored against the backdrop of a post-Arthurian landscape.

Were the story ever to make it to the screen, I can't help but picture this as a limited series. That increasingly-favored format would be the perfect medium to capture the breadth and depth of the plot, plus build off the popularity of the aforementioned obsession with shows like Game of Thrones (but to a somewhat less violent or ostentatious level). 

I think I'm going to reread the book. Picturing Meryl as one of the main characters will  give the already-enjoyable experience a fun new twist.


  1. Nice! I just put it on hold at my library to have a read. I'm also still holding out for The Good House... *sigh*

    Jeff, did you ever listen to the audiobook treatment of The Testament of Mary, which Meryl narrated? It was SO good (her reading of it especially) and honestly felt like I just watched another movie she was in. It was done back in 2014 and I haven't followed your blog since then, so maybe you did a post on it...

    For those who haven't heard of it, the book tells a version of Mary's (mother of Jesus) life in her old age. The book isn't about religion, but rather motherhood, and Meryl slays it as the titular narrator. Worth a listen.

    - Jack

    1. Hi Jack! Yup, I've definitely listened to the Testament of Mary and absolutely loved it! My thoughts here: http://www.wordonthestreep.com/2013/11/thoughts-on-testament-of-mary.html

  2. I know this may sound ridiculous but I'm still hanging on to The Good House being made with Meryl. Remember many years before The Iron Lady was filmed, there were already news that Meryl would be playing Thatcher (and I think Cate Blanchett as the younger Thatcher then) possibly directed by Oliver Stone I think. Somehow, the news died down until a revised script came up with Lloyd directing. I hope the Good House will come back to life in the near future. David.

    1. I've never head anything about the Thatcher pic being planned a long time before it actually came out. And I hope you're right about the Good House! It could absolutely still work.

  3. Jeff, sorry somehow I can't find those articles anymore...but here are some feedback when the news first broke:

    A few weeks ago, I read that Meryl Streep was interested in player former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. I didn’t write about it at the time because it all sounded very theoretical, like the movie probably wouldn’t get made and that Meryl was just talking out of her ass about her dream roles. But I was wrong – it looks like an Iron Lady bio-pic is in the works, with Meryl attached. The problem? Margret Thatcher isn’t doing so well, and the Thatcher family has grave concerns that the whole project is going to turn into some disrespectful “Left-wing fantasy”.

    Emma says:

    July 20, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I remember reading a while back – years ago, really – about the possibility of a Margaret Thatcher bio-pic starring both Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett playing her at different stages of her life. I think I actually peed my pants a little (TMI, sorry) at the thought because they’re my favorite actresses in the whole world and my dream is to see them together on screen – although in this case they wouldn’t appear “together”, it’d be fantastic, to say the least!

    Even without Cate I’ll be looking forward to this movie – any project that Meryl is attached to is a must see.

    You can imagine I was pretty excited when I first read the news reports. David