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Bookseller to movie mogul?

By / September 3, 2008



An item in today's Shelf Awareness (a daily newsletter aimed at independent bookstore owners) reports that bookseller Mitchell Kaplan (owner of Books & Books with branches in southern Florida and the Cayman Islands) has teamed up with Hollywood producer Paula Mazur to create the Kaplan/Mazur Company, a group designed to turn books into films.

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It would seem the Kaplan/Mazur Company is off to a good start. They've already bought the film rights to "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by the late Mary Ann Shaffer and her niece Annie Barrows. The novel, which was released last month, is a favorite with readers and critics alike.

Mazur knows something about working with authors. She has already produced (and written the initial screenplay for) a film version of Canadian author Wendy Orr's fantasy novel "Nim's Island" scheduled to be released later this year.

There are so many books that seem so ripe for filmmaking – it's always a mystery to me why most never materialize on the big screen. Of course what do I know of the labyrinthine struggles involved in the process of film creation?

One of the books I have long most expected to see blaze onto the screen in a big fashion is Ann Patchett's "Bel Canto." Last I heard, however, the project was stalled in the casting process.

Not too surprising, I guess. I don't know enough Japanese actors to venture a guess as to who should play Mr. Hosokawa. And as for Roxanne Coss – there must be a beautiful soprano out there who's also a good actress but I can't pretend that one comes to my mind immediately.

I'm also curious about "Loving Frank," a debut novel from last summer written by journalist Nancy Horan about the love affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney. It's a great (albeit tragic) story that takes place sprawled across at least two continents and it has the added benefit of being true.

On the casting, if he were only a bit younger Frank Langella would be my ideal Frank Lloyd Wright. I'm not sure, however, who I'd suggest among the more age-appropriate.

What about you? What book are you waiting to see appear on the screen? And when it does, who should be its stars?

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