The New York Times’ Charles McGrath delves into Richard Yates territory in its story on the film, Revolutionary Road, and how it was driven, it turns out, by one singular force:
‚ÄúI‚Äôm pretty surprised it ever got made,‚Äù Blake Bailey, Yates‚Äôs biographer, said recently about the movie version, scheduled to open Dec. 26. ‚ÄúIt has long been an ambition in Hollywood to make a movie that‚Äôs the last word on postwar suburban malaise, but like any highly nuanced work of literary art, ‚ÄòRevolutionary Road‚Äô is awfully hard to translate onto the screen.‚Äù
By all accounts, that the movie did get made is owing mostly to the drive and enthusiasm of Ms. Winslet, who was taken with the script from the moment she read it. ‚ÄúI loved the emotional nakedness, the brutal honesty about what can sometimes happen in a marriage,‚Äù she said in an interview. ‚ÄúAnd also all the minor characters are so good.‚Äù
The original screenplays this year have been stronger than ever, though the Best Picture frontrunners are all adaptations, which seems to be fairly common. ¬† Milk remains the lone exception.¬† Revolutionary Road, though, is probably going to be strong simply because the source material is so strong, if anyone happens to be paying attention to that. That makes it a good candidate for the USC Scripter award, which will be handed out in January — they will be announcing their winners at the live show for the first time in their history. The Scripter honors both the novel and the adaptation.
Last year’s No Country for Old Men was enhanced by the source material because McCarthy has become such a revered and popular writer. The Coens, as it happened matched perfectly with McCarthy’s tone. I dare say Mendes matches it with Revolutionary Road – an obscure, sickly funny parade of silly characters when suddenly, there’s the ugly tragedy of it all. It is no wonder, then, that Winslet and producer Scott Rudin worked so hard to convince him to do it.