Last night at the Time Warner Center I attended a rather swanky advance screening (one of the nice perks of my job!) of One Day, adapted by Danish director Lone Scherfig (An Education) from David Nicholl’s best-selling novel (Nicholls wrote the screenplay) and starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. But this was not just another book-to-screen event. Hosted by Markus Dohle, Random House chairman and CEO, and Peter Gethers, president, Random House Films, the evening marked the launch of RH Films’ second release (after Reservation Road).
Before the screening, Gethers praised production partner Focus Features as one of the best studios in Hollywood and briefly described the process in transferring Nicholl’s book to a new medium while maintaining the original’s spirit. He also shared details about RH Films’ upcoming projects.
In postproduction and scheduled for release in 2012 is Lay the Favorite, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughn, Rebecca Hall, and Catherine Zeta-Jones; the film is drawn from Beth Raymer’s 2010 gambling memoir. Also in the works is an adaptation of John Vaillant’s gripping The Tiger (one of LJ‘s Best Books of 2010) with Brad Pitt slated to star. RH Films is even moving into television, although Gethers couldn’t divulge details of current negotiations to adapt particular titles into series.
Given Focus Features’ track record of excellence (Brokeback Mountain, Pride and Prejudice, The Constant Gardener) and if One Day is a critical and commercial hit, RH Films has a promising future. (Check out its nifty animated logo, which the designer describes as taking “Random House’s brand‚ defined by the world of print publications‚ and catapulting it into the world of cinema.”)
How was the movie, by the way? Despite Anne Hathaway’s sometimes shaky British accent, fans of the book will be not disappointed in this touching and faithful version. Both stars are wonderful and supported by an excellent cast, including the always marvelous Patricia Clarkson and rising newcomer Rafe Spall, son of character actor Timothy Small (the Harry Potter films).