Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Walk in the Woods, With Popcorn

I know that he's considered a bit too breezy and mainstream for some of the more serious literati out there, but I am a huge and unapologetic Bill Bryson fan. He's long been one of my favorite authors, and if you've never read any of his many books, "A Walk in the Woods" is as good a place as any to start. Rumors of the film version have been floating for years, but now it looks like it's finally going to happen, and it also looks like it will star and be directed by Jeremiah Johnson.

From this story on cinemablend.com

A devoted admirer of Bill Bryson's memoir A Walk in the Woods, Robert Redford has been trying to get a movie version made since 2005. However, the actor-director has run into repeated troubles getting the adaptation moving. But after nearly eight years, Screen Daily reports Redford is making it happen by taking on the reins of director, producer, and star himself.

This is a surprising announcement since it was only last month that Richard Linklater was lined up to direct the film, hot off of praise for Before Midnight. There's no word on why Linklater has since left the project, but that's about par for the course for this Walk in the Woods. Redford has been having repeated troubles getting the film going.

It was first mentioned as a possible reunion piece with his recurring co-star Paul Newman. Sadly, the Butch Cassidy to Redford's Sundance died in 2008. By then, Barry Levinson was in talks to helm. Then three years went by before the movie made headlines again. This time it was to announce Nick Nolte's involvement, but by then Levinson was out of the director's chair. Basically, it has been a long road for Redford, but with the film's distribution rights going on sale at Cannes, he seems closer than ever before to getting this movie made.

Adapted by celebrated Little Miss Sunshine scribe Michael Arndt, A Walk in the Woods will be a comedy that follows an aging author (Redford) seeking to reinvigorate himself and his career with a treacherous trek of the Appalachian Trail along with his out of shape, alcoholic childhood pal (Nolte). There's no news on when this comedy might kick into production.

 I love Richard Linklater, especially his earlier stuff like Slacker, Dazed and Confused and Before Sunrise, but I have to say I think Robert Redford is probably a better choice, especially if it turns out as good as that other pet project that Redford pursued for years, which is, of course, A River Runs Through It.

Hope this one makes it to the screen.


  1. I couldn't agree more, the scene where he meets the glampers is so well drawn its as though I was there. Very funny.

    I instantly recognise the UK from his Notes 'From a Small Island' its the perfect primmer for any visitor coming to blighty. Do you recognise the America in The Lost Continent?


  2. Oh, absolutely. Not only The Lost Continent, but A Walk in the Woods and I'm a Stranger Here Myself, which is a collection of columns he wrote for one of the UK papers when he moved back to the States back in the 1990s. He has since, of course, moved back to the UK. And that's the thing about Bryson. His befuddled, harmless-seeming humor often disguises some brilliantly spot-on, and often scathing, social commentary.

  3. Chad

    The only really american observation he dosent make about the UK, one Goofy Girl made daily, was the lack of iced water served here, Her great WTF moment came when she asked for ice and her glass was returned to her with one solitary rock in the bottom. Her face! Hilarious!

    While we are on the subject of American writers investigating UK culture I recommend 'Among The Thugs' by Bill Burford. Probably the defining work on football hooliganism and a window into the the less civilised corners of the british psyche.
    Not a cozy tale, but a compelling one.