More on ‘Jews With Swords’

What is “Jews with swords”?

Not content to live with the very “Snakes on a Plane” title Michael Chabon has cooked up for his 16-part serialized novel, scheduled to first appear in January in the New York Times Magazine, this Web site owner went straight to the source, or next to it, for the answer.

“It’s a swashbuckling adventure story set around the year 1000,” Ayelet Waldman, Chabon’s wife, said in an e-mail. “And that’s all he’ll give you. :)”

(Waldman is answering e-mails for Chabon as he is “only in intermittent email range,” a forwarding e-mail says).

‘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.”

Rolston Selling Escapists Art

Steve Rolston is selling pages from The Escapists, the artist said in his e-mail newsletter today.

Most of the pages cost $100-150. A list of available pages is online at his Web site.

“So far the only Escapists pages available are from issue #2,” Rolston wrote. “I’ll be updating that webpage as further issues become available.”

Fifteen pages are for sale from issue #2: 5-13, 15-17, and 22-24.

Dozens Try Out for Pittsburgh

An open casting call for The Mysteries of Pittsburgh drew dozens of people dressed as punk rockers and with Mohawks and fishnet tights, The Pittsbugh Post-Gazette reported Saturday.

“We probably will use almost everybody,” said Nancy Mosser, the casting director. “We need 700 [extras].”

Head over to the paper’s site to read the fantastic feature and see all the photos.

Chabon: ‘No Substitute’ For Macdowell Colony

Michael Chabon says “there’s no substitute” for MacDowell Colony, where he’s written parts of his last three books.

Chabon and his wife, Ayelet Waldman, take turns going to MacDowell on two-week trips each year, The New York Times reported today.

“The work just becomes the center of your entire existence,” Chabon said. “You can’t be a good parent and have your work be the center of your entire existence. They’re mutually exclusive.”

The Times said Chabon has written “important parts” of Kavalier & Clay, The Final Solution, and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union while at the colony. “The last time I was at MacDowell I wrote a 70,000-word draft of a novel,” Waldman said, referring to Love and Other Impossible Pursuits. “I was completely inspired, I’ve never written like that before or since.”