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May 16, 2007 3:56 AM   Subscribe

Paramount does Neil: Gaiman's book (illustrated by Charles Vess) is being made into a film called Stardust. You can watch the trailer or read the first chapter online. The film is directed by Matthew Vaughn, who doesn't exactly have a strong fantasy background. Cross your fingers, Gaimanites.
posted by chuckdarwin (46 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
My g/f and I love Layer Cake. We have watched it several times over the past few months. First on DVD, then we'll just watch chunks of it when it's on TV, which seems to be all the time recently. Vaughn did an outstanding job directing that film.

On the other hand, this doesn't look like much to me.

I haven't read this book, but I have read mostly everything else that Gaiman has written and didn't care for it much. His comic book work is almost up there with Alan Moore, but I just don't care for his novels.
posted by GavinR at 4:10 AM on May 16, 2007


I love Stardust. The trailer looked appalling; think I'll give the movie a miss. No finger-crossing needed.

Was that Glory from Buffy who raving about "the gl-o-o-o-o-o-ry of our youth"?
posted by Wolfdog at 4:29 AM on May 16, 2007


Nope... that's Michelle Pfeifer.
posted by Hugh2d2 at 4:56 AM on May 16, 2007


I absolutely loved reading Stardust. Gaiman is really a great storyteller, and I think Stardust was one of his best books, although Anansi Boys was a wonderful followup to American Gods, and Good Omens is simply awesome.
This movie, however, will never live up to how wonderful and exquisite reading Stardust was. Reading it was simply a magical experience, of which I have yet to find in another book.
posted by Meagan at 4:57 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm not getting my hopes up for this one, I'm afraid. Stardust is far from Gaiman's strongest work, and it's not even his strongest novel. Run the sucker through the usual Hollywood filters, and... yeah.

Sorry, Neil.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:58 AM on May 16, 2007


Blech. The mood, the tone, the visuals. It all feels wrong, wrong, wrong. Stardust is a small, kind, clever low-key story and this looks like a textbook case of "how to maim your original source". Sigh. I guess Gaiman joins Moore in the gallery of Hollywood casualties then...
posted by Iosephus at 5:02 AM on May 16, 2007


Meagan, have you ever read Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell?
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:05 AM on May 16, 2007


I am just starting to read Neil's work and I love it (I've read Good Omens, 2 Goldfish and Smoke n Mirrors). This movie looks intriguing enough, I'd hit it.
posted by Hands of Manos at 5:07 AM on May 16, 2007


Wow. It's probably worth it to mention that Matthew Vaughn is also the guy who told Fox Studio Cheif Tom Rothman that he would kindly like to be let go from directorial duties on 'X-Men 3'.

Whether that departure was over creative differences or honest reluctance to be separated from his familiy for 6 months is anybody's guess. Vuaghn also served as Producer for the (IMHO) less talented Guy Ritchey, producing 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels', 'Snatch' and Swept Away' before his own 'Layer Cake'. That DiNiro, Pfeiffer and Danes signed on is only a testament to their faith in him.

/publicist filter off (if only...)

But damn, it looks good.
posted by vhsiv at 5:11 AM on May 16, 2007


I loved the novel version of Stardust whereas I'm not taken at all with Gaiman's graphic novel stuff. So each to their own, I guess.

Iosephus: I totally agree, I never envisioned as some sort of epic LOTR portrayal that they're making it out to be. Bah.
posted by liquorice at 5:14 AM on May 16, 2007


I just checked IMDB. Unless my memory is failing again... "Captain Shakespeare"? WTF? And Robert De Niro? Sweet baby jesus, someone shoot the casting director.
posted by Iosephus at 5:21 AM on May 16, 2007


I heartily second the recommendation of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell in any context. Amazing, amazing reading. Think Jane Austen crossed with C.S. Lewis.
posted by Firas at 5:32 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I LOVED this book. It looks as if there are significant departures from the plot and tone of the story in the film adaptation. Pirates? Flying ships? I don't really recall those details, though I could be wrong.

To me, any deviation from the vision of Neil is almost certain to be an adulteration rather than a refinement.

The story IS a low-key and intelligent little fairy tale of wonder, love, and adventure. To be fair, there is much in the way of suspense, action, and combat in it. The trailer seems to be playing these aspects up. I just hope (against all reason) that they have not lost the wonder and magic at the tale's heart.
posted by BigLankyBastard at 6:07 AM on May 16, 2007


Looks alright to me. I haven't read the book though.
posted by chunking express at 6:13 AM on May 16, 2007


Am I the only one who thinks Gaiman's novels are mediocre? I thought American Gods was unreadable.

And I say this as a tremendous fan of his comics work. I've gone back to Sandman over and over and over again. It's really too bad he didn't stick with comics for his later work.

Gaiman, btw, seems to be pretty happy with the movie version of Stardust, at least he was as of last fall when he gave a talk at Google.
posted by empath at 6:18 AM on May 16, 2007


empath, if you haven't already, read Anansi Boys. American Gods is flawed, yes, but the sequel/follow-up is outstanding. It's the best Douglas Adams novel written since Adams died.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:32 AM on May 16, 2007


chuckdarwin, I'd never heard of that book until now, but it sounds wonderful! Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Maybe I'll head out today and pick it up, seeing as this rainy ugly day has dampened my chances at seeing the Tulip Festival...
posted by Meagan at 6:32 AM on May 16, 2007


I've read Stardust and love it. I'm a huge Gaiman comic fan (not so much his novels fan), but I'm iffy on this novel being turned into movie. Some books are just better left as books... and the movie plays in your imagination.
However, I would be interested to see if Good Omens was finally brought to the big screen. They've been trying to for years, but it keeps stalling. I think they said there's always something wrong with the screenplay? But I could be wrong.
posted by czechmate at 6:42 AM on May 16, 2007


The early buzz for this movie has been extremely positive, and I really liked Layer Cake, so I'm looking forward to it.

Harry Knowles (I know...) raved about it and said the trailer should be disregarded as it sells the movie completely wrong. I hope he's right.
posted by aldurtregi at 7:14 AM on May 16, 2007


This last weekend, a guy with a clipboard asked if I could spare a moment for market research for an upcoming movie. How often do you go, what genres do you like, what do you think of the following actors: Sienna Miller, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer...

So I told them it was the most brilliant trailer ever, that I would be there opening night with all my friends buying extra popcorn to dump on the floor with delight, and that Paramount should spend their entire summer advertising budget on it. 'Cause, y'know, Neil G. and me, we like that. Seriously, though, wacky sagging boobs?
posted by ormondsacker at 7:42 AM on May 16, 2007


Here's Harry Knowles' comments
posted by winston at 7:42 AM on May 16, 2007


DeNiro as pirate... I have been nothing but impressed with him of late.

This is one of the few Gaiman books I haven't read, so I guess I should actually get around to that before the movie comes out.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:36 AM on May 16, 2007


Am I the only one who thinks Gaiman's novels are mediocre? I thought American Gods was unreadable.

I don't find his novels unreadable, just the last 20%. Anansi Boys is an exception that I liked all the way through but everything else starts off gangbusters and then implodes by the end.

Kind of like most Stephen King books.
posted by obfusciatrist at 9:04 AM on May 16, 2007


I've found Gaiman's novels to be fluffy and way too precious, to be honest (though I haven't read Anansi Boys yet...it's been sitting on my shelf for over a year, waiting for me to work up the enthusiasm to start it). I was a big fan of (most of) The Sandman, but his prose work feels kinda lightweight and cutesy to me. It's not BAD, per se, it's just not deep or great work. This movie...meh.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 9:19 AM on May 16, 2007


After Knowles' review I am hopeful. Great cast- I'll see anything with Danes in it.
posted by pointilist at 9:22 AM on May 16, 2007


Seriously? I actually kinda like American Gods. Neverwhere was creepy. Haven't read Anansi Boys yet, but liked Good Omens. Hey, he's no worse than Stephen King, and everyone seems to like HIM.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 9:30 AM on May 16, 2007


This is one of the first times Knowles has let me feel okay about something. If what he says is true about this movie, then I'll see it, otherwise this looks like one of those messes. One of the ugly ones.
posted by ScotchLynx at 9:31 AM on May 16, 2007


Just my two cents...

I love Stardust. Easily my favourite Gaiman work. I must have read it a good 5 times when it first came out - when I was 14 I guess? I also thought Neverwhere was great, though I didn't think much of American Gods. Based on a few comments now though, I may pick up Anansi Boys.

As for the movie, I'm pretty excited about it. I don't think anyone should think much about the trailer. I've been thinking this for a while, and I've wondered if anyone else has noticed, but I remember in the 90s that you could actually glean a fair bit about the quality of a movie from its trailer. It's been a long time now though since I've seen a trailer which doesn't try to brutally present the movie its advertising as some entertaining schmaltz. Did anyone see Venus? It was a great movie, and also very creepy. The trailer I saw for it tried to present it as a cutesy cross-generational friendship thing. Really weird.

I don't put weight in trailers anymore. Rather, knowing that Neil is heavily involved in the production of the movie, that there's been a lot of positive buzz, and that the casting is completely inspired leads me to believe that the movie will be great.
posted by Alex404 at 9:36 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I still think Sandman woulda made an awesome movie. However, after seeing what Hollywood did to Hellraizer, probably best they never tried that. I'm not a big fan of Johnny Depp but he woulda pulled off Sandman I think. Of course, Hollywood woulda gone with Keanu Reeves and I'd have to go jihad all over Studio City.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:54 AM on May 16, 2007


Seriously? I actually kinda like American Gods. Neverwhere was creepy. Haven't read Anansi Boys yet, but liked Good Omens. Hey, he's no worse than Stephen King, and everyone seems to like HIM.

Hmmmmm. Yeah, I dunno...I realize this isn't exactly what Gaiman's trying to do, mind you, but King is able to generate suspense and tension in a way that Gaiman...isn't. Like, I enjoyed American Gods for the most part, but it took me two or three months to read it -- it was something I'd read on the bus or wherever, and I don't ever remember feeling like omigod-I-gotta-know-what-happens-next. I wasn't bored, and sometimes I was really enthralled, but I never felt invested in it. King, a writer of many failings, does get you to care for his people, and worry about what might happen to them next. Gaiman's protagonists are a lot more cipher-y. (I NEVER felt this lack of investment in The Sandman, and in retrospect I have to wonder how many of Gaiman's perceived strengths were actually those of his artists.) Anyway, I'm not trying to totally diss him, I'm just saying the whole Neil-Gaiman-as-world-treasure rap...I'm not feeling it. He's good, but not like CRAZY good.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:08 AM on May 16, 2007


Please don't suck.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:11 AM on May 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Kinda feels a little Gilliam-esque to me, and that's maybe a good thing. Could be entertaining. Doesn't seem as Gaiman-like, but that's not necessarily a bad thing either.
posted by EarBucket at 10:17 AM on May 16, 2007


Don't get your hopes up, kids.
posted by jonson at 10:18 AM on May 16, 2007


it's been years since I read stardust, but I remember loving it. the problem is that I don't remember it very well, which might be why the trailer bears almost no resemblance to the story I do remember. I suspect, though, that it's simply almost totally different than the book. might see it anyway, i see pretty much everything.
posted by shmegegge at 10:35 AM on May 16, 2007


I'm still fantasizing about a big-budget Neverwhere. Still, if this does well, maybe we'll finally see Good Omens get off the ground.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:52 AM on May 16, 2007


Yeah, what GavinR and kittens said. He's good in the comic/graphic novel format, but he can't seem to flesh out characters in his book without resorting to cliche. I can't give him credit for Agnes Nutter anymore than I can give King credit for The Talisman. They were not solo works (and I mean, forget Straub, Nutter was with Terry fucking Pratchett). In the past I've quoted at length from Neverwhere as an example of terrible, hackneyed writing, but I don't have a copy on hand, nor the patience to do so right now.
posted by dreamsign at 10:53 AM on May 16, 2007


Meh. A lot of the appeal of the graphic novel for me lay in the artistry of Charles Vess. From what I've seen of the trailer, that delicate touch is completely washed away in a flood of bombastic spectacle. And also there will be large amounts of new material that might have been thrust in there on the dreaded "because it looks cool" principle. It could still be good, but it won't be Stardust as I know it.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 12:40 PM on May 16, 2007


Baron Munchausen meets Princess Bride
posted by prodigalsun at 1:05 PM on May 16, 2007


'Hellraiser'? That was Clive Barker, not Neil Gaiman.
posted by vhsiv at 1:38 PM on May 16, 2007


I like Neil Gaiman, but I really hope this doesn't suck as much as MirrorMask did. I couldn't get past the first 10 minutes of that atrocity.

Faint of Butt: "Anansi Boys. American Gods is flawed, yes, but the sequel/follow-up is outstanding. It's the best Douglas Adams novel written since Adams died."

That's pretty funny, actually, considering that American Gods wasn't much more than Neil Gaiman's riff on Adams' "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul". I'll have to read it...
posted by dvdgee at 3:09 PM on May 16, 2007


'Hellraiser'? That was Clive Barker, not Neil Gaiman.

I think the title he's reaching for is Hellblazer, though I could be wrong. If Hollywood fucked up Hellraiser -- which it didn't, though an argument could be made for Hollywood having made a hash of most of its sequels -- Clive has no one blame for that but himself, being that he, like, wrote and directed it.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:46 PM on May 16, 2007


I'm with you dvdgee - Mirrormask was pretty awful. I couldn't get past the fact that everyone was British but it took place in Venice. Plus, it even made Alexei Sayle look bad.

It was dire. I almost cancelled my lovefilm sub after that.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:29 PM on May 16, 2007


vhsiv: "'Hellraiser'? That was Clive Barker, not Neil Gaiman."

I know. It was also Vertigo, and not DC. I used to collect both series at the same time. My point wasn't that Hollywood would ruin Gaiman, but that it has in the past ruined Vertigo titles, and just cuz Gaiman's name's on it, that's not gonna make it more immune to producer stupidity.

There was at one time a great maxi-series produced by DC called "Thriller" that'd make an awesome film, but like "Watchmen" there are some things in Thriller that only work on the comic book page. If they tried to recreate it, Hollywood would mess it all up. Gaiman didn't make Thriller either but it's the same mature attitude towards story telling.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:59 PM on May 16, 2007


Am I the only one who thinks Gaiman's novels are mediocre? I thought American Gods was unreadable.

I was also pretty disappointed with American Gods and Anansi Boys. But I loved Neverwhere and really liked Stardust. And it was many years ago, but I remember laughing hysterically to Good Omens. It does feel like, over time, he's written out all his good stuff and he's left regurgitating the same style he's become famous for.

I don't know what this movie preview was supposed to be an adaptation of, but it sure didn't feel like Stardust.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:47 PM on May 16, 2007


ZachsMind: It was also Vertigo, and not DC.

My bad. I just realized that you were probably referring to 'John Constantine:Hellblazer' , which is a title that I, too, also used to collect, that was turned into a so-so movie, so-so mostly because Keanu Reeves is not James 'Spike' Marsters (who would have been a MUCH better casting choice) and does not sport a Cotney accent and the movie was situated in L.A. and not the N.Y./London axis of the comic book.

All apologies – Hellraiser, Hellblazer, Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Garth Ennis – they're all subjects and writers of the same British invasion and cloth, often hard to separate.
posted by vhsiv at 6:31 PM on May 16, 2007


Again, if Good Omens is the standout, maybe you should try reading Pratchett.
posted by dreamsign at 10:04 PM on May 16, 2007


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