Eleanor and Park, the eponymous leads of Rainbow Rowell’s breakout YA novel, cannot be played by Shailene Woodley or Ansel Elgort or Miles Teller or any of the leads of the aforementioned adaptations. Park is half-Korean, and Eleanor is overweight. They are not going to look like any teen romantic movie leads in the history of ever. There’s a lot of diversity in YA literature these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was more diversity in YA than in any other genre of literature. This makes sense, it’s a lucrative genre, the money allows conventions to be broken and risks to be taken. Still, the books that have survived the book-to-film adaptation all share in common status quo casting. It’s impossible to do E&P with status quo casting. The film is going to have to bring in new talent. That new talent is going to be on billboards and in commercials and in pop-up ads. Every time we see these faces, we’re going to see that this is what a leading lady and a leading man can look like. When audiences attend the film they’re going to see that this is what a great love story can look like.
Look, if LEAN IN and other not-so-story-focused nonfiction books can be made into movies, why not these?
The part where Shailene finds out she’s NOT like any other girl, because books about well-adjusted young women with close personal friendships and general respect for their peers do not sell as well as THE SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE WHO IS THE ONLY ONE SMART AND BRAVE AND UNCONVENTIONALLY PRETTY ENOUGH TO LEAD THE REVOLUTION, and they do not adapt for film as well either.
That’s the new poster, and here’s the new trailer!
Shakespeare is not Breaking Bad and The Avengers, but it is by no means indecipherable. You don’t need to have attended Cambridge to understand this story. Freshmen in high school read Romeo and Juliet. Prison inmates perform Shakespeare. The Bard wrote for kings and peasants in his day, and it is a testament to Shakespeare that his plays STILL WORK for the kings and peasants of today. That Fellowes assumes such a narrow slice of society can appreciate Shakespeare makes me suspect that the adaptor really didn’t do his homework. If this was the method behind this adaptation’s madness, then this adaptation was made under false pretenses. This was a film that seems to have been done for the wrong reasons.