D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Is it selling out if the story moves to a different media?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 4:17 PM

News came out recently that Hollywood studios have pulled backing for the planned Halo movie (based on the game Halo and Halo 2 for the XBox, in case you just crawled out of some non-geeky bomb shelter recently). I was very happy with this, because I'm a firm believer that you don't need to move a story to a different media unless there's a good reason to. How often do we hate seeing amazing books ported as a spectre of its literary self onto the big screen, not for artistic merit or furthering the message but for profit and greed? The same is for video games. Halo is amazing when the story is told through the game, why would we need it retold in a different format? Silly.

But today I was thrown into a paradox of belief. I was at a client's, waiting for her to meet me in their waiting area, when I picked up today's Time magazine. In it, I found an advertisement for a Blackberry (which is a mobile communications device similar to a cell phone but with more functionality, again, in case that bomb-shelter was home for a bit). What was odd was who was the featured celebrity for this ad:

Douglas Coupland

Douglas Coupland (don't worry bomb-shelter people, I'm pretty sure most Americans and alot of Canadians have no clue, which is to their loss) is one of Canada's best authors. He's like the Tragically Hip for books. Some of his works include Microserfs, JPod, and Hey Nostradamus. Much like the Tragically Hip or Matthew Good, he's never looked for attention or basked in pop-culture's 15 minutes of fame, instead opting for quality over quantity and longevity over burning out fast. But...here he is...pushing Blackberry's new gizmo. So that was disturbing a bit...and interestingly, the word "sellout" came to mind because it just didn't make sense what I was seeing. But hey, if the guy can make a few $ and he's not sacrificing his art to do so, why not...but still weird.

Anyway, as I was scanning the short right up about how he uses his Blackberry, I came accross a sentence that froze me: Douglas Coupland uses his Blackberry to communicate with his production partners on his new television series JPod, based on his book.

Oh. My. Golly. Are you serious?! JPod is going to become...a TV show? So this goes back to my earlier comment: why move a perfectly good story from its intended media to a new one? What are the benefits of watching a weekly show based on Coupland's characters as opposed to having a solid followup novel released (which, unless you plow through books, which I don't, can last as long as a season of 40 minute episodes)? Yet the commercial dark-side of me is like "No F'n Way! This will be awesome!" and leads to a-typical thoughts of "I wonder who's going to be cast?!" and then turns into me blogging about who I would like to see in the show:

Ethan - Kevin Rose (no, he's not an actor, but if I think of Ethan, I think of someone like Kevin)

Cowboy - Donald Belcham

Bree - Morgan Webb - only because I think she migh be like Bree in real life.

John Doe - Peter Sarsgaard

Evil Mark - Macaulay Culkin

Kaitlin - Christina Ricci

Kam Fong - B.D. Wong (dude from Law and Order SVU...and apparantly also Kingdom Hearts 2?!)

Steve - Steve Carell (yes, typecasting and very unoriginal, but he would be PERFECT)

Ethan's Mom - Blythe Danner

Ethan's Dad - Steve Martin

Y'know...I started writing this post a few days ago, and now I'm sitting here finishing it off trying to brainstorm who I'd want to play which parts, and I think it proves my point: the characters in the book have no real counterpart in the real world. There is no perfect actor to "be" the book character, because the book characters weren't written with an actor in mind...they were written with a story in mind.

Anyway, if you had to cast it, who would you put in?



# re: Is it selling out if the story moves to a different media?

"I was very happy with this, because I'm a firm believer that you don't need to move a story to a different media unless there's a good reason to."

I have to disagree with you, crossing over into other mediums worked great for the Mario Bros. They had great crossover hits in such mediums as movies and television.

10/31/2006 8:54 PM | Steven R

# re: Is it selling out if the story moves to a different media?

Ha ha, oh Steven, you're so funny! Ha ha...good one...ha ha...heh...um, you are just joking right?

D 11/1/2006 6:09 AM | D'Arcy from Winnipeg

# re: Is it selling out if the story moves to a different media?

I don't think you're going to be seeing any of the actors you listed in the show. jPOD is being made by the CBC, so non-Canadian stars are a no-go. Think local Vancouver cast-types like the ones you see as day players in such shows as Stargate, Falcon Beach, or L-word. Also, as much as I like Coupland's writing, he's chosen to partner up with a really awful choice for executive producer -- a man by the name of Larry Sugar. If you're not familiar with him, he's the hack responsible for such high quality fare as "The Collector" and "Barely Cooking" (that's a show with naked cooks... yup, I'm not joking... which seems a little at odds with the type of cultural contributor that Coupland usually associates himself with). Doug Coupland, public intellectual meets Larry Sugar, the ultimate Backlot North (to borrow Coupland's own term from City of Glass) schlock producer. Doug, what are you thinking?

But I agree with you -- Sarsgaard as John Doe would be fantastic. 11/8/2006 9:57 AM | john doe

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