While everyone else in their early twenties was busy going to school, partying, chasing boys (or girls) are doing all those things college folks tend to do, Carson McCullers wrote the stone-cold masterpiece “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter,” a novel containing the emotional depth, wisdom and tragic beauty of somebody three times her age of twenty-three. It was a her first novel, but was the building block of small, but pretty unrivalled body of some of the finest Southern-flavoured writing ever put on the page. And while we always worry when our favorite, beloved writers get brought to the big screen, the first bit of casting for the biopic “Lonely Hunter” indicates that the filmmakers are moving in the right direction.
Jena Malone will lead the Deborah Kampmeier (the Dakota Fanning gets raped movie “Hounddog“) directed film about the writer’s difficult life. McCullers was plagued by illness from a very young age, and in her twenties she suffered from a number of strokes, and by the age of 31 she was entirely paralyzed on the left side of her body. If that’s not enough, she battled alcoholism, a suicide attempt and a rather torrid on again/off again marriage to Reeves McCullers who later took his own life. However, her talent brought her into select literary circles and she counted folks like W.H. Auden, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams among her friends.
McCullers is a difficult part to cast, but Malone is a pretty good fit for the part. She’s certainly the right age and she’s not a big, flashy A-list type name that would distract from portraying a quite fragile person. Moreover, we think she’s got the chops to do the part justice so here’s hoping the script will be up to scratch. It’s another interesting movie for the actress who, aside from this year’s egregious “Sucker Punch,” has mostly been sticking with indie flicks with the lesbian werewolf thingy “Jack And Diane” and the long-ago-shot, and still-being-finished “For Ellen” with Paul Dano on the way.
Casting is still underway on the film, but it will go in front of cameras next spring. Until then, do yourself a favor and go to the library or bookstore or Kindle or whatever and catch up with McCullers. She only wrote four novels in her lifetime before passing away at the age of 50 and they are all pretty damn exceptional. Yes, there have been some movie versions, but they don’t come close to the books so you’d be best off to start there. Can you tell we’re excited for this one?