Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hollywood’s cheat sheet: Public domain works

When Hollywood makes movies, it doesn’t need to start with a blank sheet of paper, it can simply go to the bookshelf and borrow from well-known, free-to-use stories in the public domain.
Recently I’ve been documenting on this blog the many public domain stories being adapted by movie and TV studios.
The list continues here.

Sherlock Holmes

Genius detective Sherlock Holmes has been part of the world’s popular culture since Arthur Conan Doyle published his first story with the character in 1887.
Holmes has been used in countless movies and other media. Most recently the character was featured in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” a sequel to director Guy Ritchie’s 2009 action-adventure movie “Sherlock Holmes.”
A third movie in the series, which stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, is being written, Deadline says.
Meanwhile, British television is currently airing a TV series based on the character called “Sherlock.”
And CBS is planning a TV series for this fall called “Elementary,” which is “a modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with Sherlock now living in New York City,” EW reports.

Les Miserables

A movie version of the hit Broadway musical “Les Miserables” is in the works, starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway and Amanda Seyfried. The musical is based on the 1862 novel by Victor Hugo.


The works of William Shakespeare have been picked over by the entertainment industry time and again.
A film version of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Coriolanus” is now in limited theatrical release. It stars Ralph Fiennes, Gerard Butler and Vanessa Redgrave. Fiennes is making his directorial debut on the film.
Actress Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) is staring in a film adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”
Director Joss Whedon (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Angel” and “Firefly”) has shot a film version of “Much Ado About Nothing.” It stars many actors who have worked with Whedon on other projects including Nathan Fillion, Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof, EW says.

Classic literature

Director Mike Newell is doing a film adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel “Great Expectations” (1861). It stars Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham, Deadline reports.
A movie adaptation of “Wuthering Heights” by director Andrea Arnold is awaiting U.S. release, according to GeekTyrant. It’s based on the 1847 novel by Emily Bronte.
Actress Keira Knightley is starring in director Joe Wright’s movie “Anna Karenina,” Deadline says. It’s based on the novel by Leo Tolstoy, which was first published in 1877.
A big-budget film based on the John Milton poem “Paradise Lost” (1667) was recently canceled before going into production, Deadline reports. It was supposed to star Bradley Cooper as Lucifer. But it could be resurrected down the line, the website says.

The Bible

The Bible is the source of inspiration for Jews and Christians around the world. It’s also the inspiration for a lot of Hollywood movies.
Director Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) is doing a movie called “Noah” from the Old Testament story about Noah and his ark. He reportedly wants Russell Crowe to play Noah, according to Deadline.
Director Steven Spielberg is working with Warner Bros. on an epic biopic about Moses called “Gods and Kings, Deadline says.
Director Chris Columbus (“Home Alone” and “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”) is developing a movie about Jesus as a kid. It’s based on the Anne Rice novel “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,” GeekTyrant says.
Warner Bros. is developing a movie based on the Bible story of Samson and Delilah, GeekTyrant says. Screenwriter Scott Silver (“The Fighter” and “8 Mile”) and director Francis Lawrence (“I Am Legend”) are attached to the project, which turns the tale into a futuristic superhero story.

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