‘Not a Lot Going On’ With Kavalier

In an interview with Details magazine, Michael Chabon gives an update on the forever-stalled film adaptation of Kavalier & Clay:

“We were so close,” he says. “As far as I was told, we had been greenlighted, and we had part of a cast. Tobey Maguire was supposed to star, and Natalie Portman. Then around Thanksgiving it just completely went south for studio-politics kinds of reasons that I’m not privy to. I have a lot of faith in the producer, Scott Rudin, who has the rights to the material. He’s a great movie producer, and if anyone can pull it all together, it’s Scott. But right now, as far as I know, there’s not a lot going on.”

To read the full interview, and an excerpt from The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, click here.

Kavalier Stalled?

An actor who screen tested for the film adaptation for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay says the movie is stalled, Coming Soon.net reported.

In an interview, Ben Whishaw, star of Perfume, says although director Stephen Daldry had him audition for the film, “I think it’s not happening now.”

“I think it’s been sort of put to one-side for a little while,” he said. “It all fell apart, which is such a shame. I have not read the book even, but it’s a wonderful project. I hope at some point it’s revived.”

No word on what part Whishaw tried out for, but the interview does show that casting was well underway before any red lights went up. Adrien Brody read for the part of Kavalier, and Michael Chabon several months ago called Natalie Portman a “strong likelihood” for the part of Rosa.

Pre-production began in March, and New York City’s mayor’s office said scouting occured through May. But as of August, the film still had not been given the greenlight. The article says Daldry and the producers set up a presentation in New York for the movie.

Brody a No-Go for Kavalier

Actor Adrien Brody met with producers about staring in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, but ultimately was not cast, according to an interview in today’s The Scotsman.

“I have read it and they’re going to make that movie. Without me,” Brody said. “There are similarities with The Pianist, though. I am very right for it, I know, but an artist fleeing from persecution by the Nazis? I see a lot of parallels. But it is a great role.”

To read the full interview, go here.

‘Jews With Swords’ Are Coming

Michael Chabon will author a 16-part serialized novel in The New York Times Magazine, temporarily called “Jews with swords,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning author announced Friday.

Chabon provided no plot details about the Times stories other than the working title, which he swears is “the working title only!” The stories are scheduled to begin hitting print sometime in early January after Michael Connelly’s serial completes, Chabon wrote on his Web site.

Chabon also announced Friday that he had been replaced as the screenwriter for Disney’s martial arts picture Snow and the Seven.

A brief recounting by Chabon of the end of his job on the film went like this: “They love you, but they want to go in another direction.” “What kind of dir–” “More of a fun direction.” “Oh.”

No word on who has replaced Chabon.

Chabon said his next novel, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, is “completed and headed for copy-editing.” It should hit bookstores in May 2007, much sooner than anticipated (Chabon said in December it wouldn’t hit stores until winter 2007).

Chabon noted that the film adaptation of Mysteries of Pittsburgh is “about to enter the magical estate known as ‘principal photography,’ in the great city of Pittsburgh.” News reports circulated earlier this week that Nick Nolte has joined the cast. (Nextbook, by the way, is carrying an account of that crazy 80’s extra casting call).

But don’t expect any new news on the film adaptation Kavalier & Clay, at least not from Chabon. He posted this missive on his site regarding the film: “Status: Complying With Polite Request To Stop Posting About It On This Website, Already.”

Chabon’s previous posting regarding the film had been to say the Natalie Portman might get cast as Rosa Saks. Unlike usual with Chabon’s Web site updates, links to the posting began widely popping up throughout the blogosphere, and several Hollywood news Web sites quoted it at length.

Cinematical quotes Chabon’s wife, Ayelet Waldman, as saying Kavalier & Clay has “not yet been greenlit.”

Waldman also updated her Web site, with an update on the family:

“We’re in Maine, on something of an extended vacation. Vacation for us means we don’t do anything but work and play with the kids. It’s been pretty grand, but frankly I’m surprised I haven’t done as much reading as I expected. Maybe it’s because the kids are obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and we watch it every night. I’ve also spent time getting my butt kicked at Scrabble, as usual. Playing Scrabble with my husband is exactly no fun at all.”

Paramount Chief Wants Kavalier Made

The film adaptation of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is one of several movies singled-out by Paramount’s president as must-film projects, HollywoodReporter.Com reports.

The site reports that Gail Berman, who took the studio’s reins 13 months ago, is “ardently pursuing” two Scott Rudin productions, Kavalier and an adaptation of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections.

Focusing on smart, adult-targeted movies is important for the studio come Oscar season, Berman said. Other projects along those lines include Babel, World Trade Center and Freedom Fighters.

“Paramount has not been where the awards have been,” Berman said. “It’s important come award season that we’re competitive.”