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.

Will the Escapist Return?

Can the Escapist escape the end?

That’s the question following the final issue of The Escapists, published earlier this month. Dark Horse still has the rights to publish a new book, and while nothing has been announced, editor Diana Schutz says plans are afoot.

“Our commitment remains firm to the character,” she said via e-mail.

Just last week, Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson talked to Schutz about creating a new Escapist-related series, “though I can’t give you any details at this point and probably not for some time,” she said.

“Don’t forget that Mike went out of his way to get the rights to publish comics based on Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer-winning novel; he is still totally passionate about Michael’s novel and about our comics,” Schutz said. “As am I. It’s the market whose support we need!”

At the stands, Escapist series have stuggled. The final issue of Michael Chabon Presents: The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist, which hit stands in November 2005, sold only 4,594 copies, according to ICv2 data. Schutz said they “learned the hard way that a nine-dollar eighty-page anthology was perhaps not the right direction to take.”

Retooled and repriced at $2.99, The Escapists faired better; issue #5 sold 12,190 copies, ICv2 says. Still, that issue ranked only 172 out of 300 comics in November.

At the very least, fans should expect to finally see the so-called “missing” Escapist stories, according to Schutz. When Dark Horse abruptly pulled the plug on the anthology in January, issue #9 was all but done and scheduled to hit shelves that week. Howard Chaykin and artist Jed Dougherty had finished a story about a battle between several decades’ incarnations of Luna Moth, and Stuart Moore and Phil Winslade completed a 1970’s tale featuring the Escapist and Hunter S. Thompson. Neither have seen print.

“We certainly have plans to print all of the ‘missing’ Escapist stories!” Schutz said. “There were several in production at the time the anthology was pulled, and I have both personal and professional reasons for wanting those to see the light of day — as do the several writers and artists who worked on them.”

Schutz said she’s not sure what form the stories will be in when they get published.

“It’s possible we’ll collect the whole darn shootin’ match into one big brick of a book, though my preference would be to find a way to thematically link certain groups of stories together and release them as miniseries first, along the lines of the Hellboy: Weird Tales anthology, for instance,” she said.

But don’t expect a return of characters Max Rothwell and Case Weaver from The Escapists. As early as September, write Brian K. Vaughan indicated at his Web site’s forum that the series, if it continued, would be without him.

“I love the book, but my finale is pretty final,” he said.

Artist Steve Rolston likewise said he hadn’t “heard of any further Escapist comics being planned,” though adding he suspected Dark Horse would work to publish the “missing” stories.

Exactly how long Dark Horse can publish comics spun from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is unclear. Schutz declined to say how long Dark Horse was allowed to publish Escapist comics, saying the contract was confidential.

“Let’s just say that I think Michael Chabon would like us to get those stories into print, too,” she said. “He’s been very happy with what we’ve done so far — both in terms of the original anthology as well as the Vaughan/[Jason] Alexander/Rolston Escapists six-issue series.”

Asked in mid-December, Chabon said he hadn’t heard anything from Dark Horse about a new series. Chabon said he was “sorry” to see The Escapists end, calling it “so great.”

“I really wish it would continue just so that I could keep reading,” he said.

Ayelet’s Fave Hotel Burns Down

A history hunting retreat in California favored by Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon was leveled by a fire Wednesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Manka’s Inverness Lodge, located in Marin County, was known for its gourmet cuisine. Artists and celebrities, including Robert Redford, Brad Pitt, Chabon and Waldman, frequented the famed inn. Waldman said she and Chabon often went to Manka’s for pleasure and to work.

“We’ve gone there for countless romantic weekends,” Waldman said.

“It was our favorite hotel, absolutely. It was like the most gorgeous hunting lodge you’ve ever been to. Everything was rustic, but exquisite,” she said. “It just breaks my heart.”

Chabon Defends Acknowledgments

The New York Times published a letter to the editor from Michael Chabon on Monday, defending the use of the acknowledgment in novels.

The letter came in response to an article Times books reporter Julie Bosman wrote that was critical of Norman Mailer’s very long acknowledgments.

“Here’s a crazy reason your article did not mention for including an acknowledgment at the end of your novel: to acknowledge,” Chabon wrote in the letter, dated Dec. 5 and mailed from Peterborough, New Hampshire.

“If there is some kind of old-fashioned virtue in concealing one’s debt to and gratitude for the hard work of others, it’s difficult for me to see where it lies,” Chabon wrote. “The comparison to an Oscar speech is easy but bogus; it’s much more like an invocation, a quick prayer of thanks offered up to your ancestors before you paddle your canoe over the falls.”

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Final Escapists Hits Stands

The final issue of The Escapists hit stands Wednesday.

“Thanks to everyone who loved this miniseries as much as we did,” writer Brian K. Vaughan said on his forum.

Steve Rolston and Jason Shawn Alexander illustrate the final tale of Max and Case. “When tragedy strikes, will the character that brought them together ultimately tear them apart?” the issue’s solication says. “Find out in this fantastic final issue of the Escapist’s first miniseries!”