When Oprah Winfrey likes a book, she definitely likes a book. An avid reader, some 8 or so books from her famous Book Club have been adapted to film; so if you’re an author with a novel, and it somehow grabs Oprah’s attention, there’s a good chance it will become a film. Meaning, dump those scripts and start penning novels!
One of those Book Club titles that’s on its way to the big screen is The Story of Edgar Sawtelle – a Book Club selection in 2008.
Ms Winfrey, with Harpo Films producing partner Kate Forte, have teamed up with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, via their Playtone production company, to bring Sawtelle to the big screen, and Prison Break star, Wentworth Miller, is said to be in talks to pen the script.
Written by David Wroblewski, and described as a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, set in rural Wisconsin, The Story Of Edgar Sawtelle’s synopsis reads:
Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar’s paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles’ once peaceful home. When Edgar’s father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm–and into Edgar’s mother’s affections.Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father’s death, but his plan backfires–spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father’s murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.
THR says William Broyles Jr. (Apollo 13) wrote an initial draft; and I suppose Wentworth Miller is rewriting that draft, or possibly starting from scratch – it’s not clear either way.
According to Oprah.com, Oprah compares this book to classics by John Steinbeck, as well as Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Sales reportedly nearly tripled after being named to Oprah’s Book Club.
No director or cast is yet attached.