News Article

Cast Away

Robert Zemeckis will direct ''The Corrections.'' The ''Polar Express'' director will film the screen version of Jonathan Franzen's Oprah-snubbing bestseller

Director Robert Zemeckis' last big-screen literary adaptation was children's book The Polar Express. His next one sounds a lot more ambitious, even though it'll have a lot less computer-generated imagery and effects shots. Variety reports that he's working on a draft of a screenplay of Jonathan Franzen's sprawling dysfunction-family saga The Corrections, with an eye toward directing it.

A version of Franzen's 2001 bestseller has been in the works for three years; it was initially set to be adapted by the team behind The Hours: producer Scott Rudin, screenwriter David Hare, and director Stephen Daldry. Variety reports that Rudin and Hare are still attached to the project; with Forrest Gump Oscar winner Zemeckis on board, Daldry is apparently no longer associated with the film.

A National Book Award winner, Corrections was the source of a notorious literary flap when Franzen expressed ambivalence about his novel becoming a selection of Oprah's Book Club, saying that being honored alongside some of Winfrey's more middlebrow selections wasn't exactly a compliment. The snubbed Oprah rescinded her invitation to Franzen to appear on her show, though his book remained a club selection.

No word from Paramount about who might play the Lambert family in the Zemeckis adaptation, though Franzen has his own suggestions for the roles of Parkinson's-afflicted patriarch Alfred and sexually befuddled daughter Denise. Talking to EW two years ago, Franzen said: ''If they told me Gene Hackman was going to do Alfred, I would be delighted. If they told me they had cast Cate Blanchett as Denise, I would be jumping up and down, even though officially I really don't care what they do with the movie.''

Originally posted Jan 27, 2005