Romanek begins shooting ‘Never Let Me Go’

Posted by · 4:59 pm · April 14th, 2009

Never Let Me GoLast week, I mentioned how fully in the tank I am for Lynne Ramsay’s upcoming “We Need To Talk About Kevin.” Today, meanwhile, brings updated news of another British-funded adaptation with a mighty literary source, perfect-on-paper cast and exciting filmmaker who has been quiet for too long.

The film in question is Mark Romanek’s take on Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 masterpiece, “Never Let Me Go.” Both Fox Searchlight and Film4 (a pairing that previously brought us “Slumdog Millionaire”) have a hand in the project, which started principal shooting today in the UK. Anyone familiar with Ishiguro’s novel will see why it’s a potentially snug fit for Romanek, the music video auteur extraordinaire who hasn’t settled on a feature-length vehicle for his gifts since the mixed bag that was 2002’s “One Hour Photo.”

Ishiguro’s supremely elegant science-fiction tale — a romantic dystopian narrative hard to synopsise without entering spoiler territory — should provide the right balance of elegiac emotional texture to complement Romanek’s sometimes distancing visual sheen. With Alex Garland (“The Beach,” “28 Days Later”) handling script duties, the project promises a very exciting merger of three pristine stylists.

Meanwhile, the cast — a veritable showcase of Britain’s brightest rising talent — isn’t too shabby either: Sally Hawkins has just been added to a roster that already includes Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield (so riveting in “Boy A” and “Red Riding”), with Charlotte Rampling adding veteran class.

Even if you don’t know the source material, you have to admit this sounds pretty exciting on paper. Of course, Ishiguro’s opalescent, china-fragile prose (okay, I’m a long-time devotee) provides numerous opportunities to trip up less delicate filmmakers — but as the Merchant-Ivory team proved back in 1993, it can be done, and with less intrinsically cinematic source material to boot. I’m sensing something special in the works here.

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9 responses so far

  • 1 4-14-2009 at 5:08 pm

    j said...

    I found the book way overrated. It was boring and surprisingly unoriginal, given the lavish praise it received for the opposite. I adored House of the Scorpion (Nancy Farmer) and Unwind (Neal Shusterman). Hopefully one of them gets a film treatment…especially the latter.

  • 2 4-14-2009 at 6:07 pm

    MattyD said...

    This novel is one of my favorites of all time. It is poetically written, and features one of the most compelling stories I’ve read in a long time.

    For j, I think that it wasn’t boring, it just wasn’t bombastic like the other two novels you just mentioned. This is no “The Island”. Although perhaps not wholly original in concept, I think it provides a very different perspective on a story that we’ve perhaps seen a few times before.

    This project is my most anticipated out of anything else currently. I cannot express in words my immense admiration for the source material and the hopes that this film could really be something remarkable.

  • 3 4-14-2009 at 7:14 pm

    rosengje said...

    I love this novel. It paradoxically includes one of the most touching scenes oriented around porn ever. Perfect casting thus far.

  • 4 4-14-2009 at 10:42 pm

    BurmaShave said...

    I saw BOY A last summer the night after I’d watched LIONS FOR LAMBS. Andrew Garfield immediately went from one of my least favorite to most favorite new actors. I’m pleased to see he’s in DOCTOR PARNASSUS as well. I hope we get to see that here in the USA.

  • 5 4-14-2009 at 11:35 pm

    Bridgeman said...

    Another book that’s been on my shelf unread for far too long. I’m a big, big fan of Ishiguro’s “When We Were Orphans” and, of course, “The Remains of the Day” so I really should pull my finger out and give this one a go.

    I have a copy of “The Unconsoled” somewhere too but only read a couple of pages.

  • 6 4-15-2009 at 1:20 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “The Unconsoled” is both hard work and an acquired taste, but there’s brilliance amid the murkiness.

    Have you read “A Pale View of Hills?” His best, in my opinion, and one of my favourite modern novels.

  • 7 4-15-2009 at 1:27 am

    Bridgeman said...

    No, I’ve only read “Orphans” and “Remains” so far.

    So what book should I start next then, Guy? “Never Let Me Go” or “We Need To Talk About Kevin”?

  • 8 4-15-2009 at 1:40 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Whatever you’re in the mood for, Bridgeman. They’re both great, and I’m not one to prescribe. I’d recommend getting round to both of them eventually, though.

  • 9 4-15-2009 at 2:01 pm

    Scott Ward said...

    Poetically written? Wow. But anyway, I really wish this were adapted into a much more sinister tale than Ishiguro’s novel. And not sinister as in boo scary, but something more along the lines of a Gus Van Sant film. But certainly the relationships need to not only be there, but be used effectively for this to be a success.