I'm willing to bet a large sum that most of our American readers had to tread the Tim O'Brien classic, The Things They Carried, sometime in high school or college. It's one of the seminal books on the Vietnam War, tracking short stories about soldiers dealing with deployment, the draft, and the faces of battle.
Now, Rupert Sanders, the director behind the fantasy epic Snow White and the Huntsman and science fiction actioner Ghost in the Shell, has boarded the project and production is moving fast. According to a Collider report, Sanders is hosting a table read in L.A. this week, according to sources, and he’s currently working with casting director Carmen Cuba to find his young ensemble, as production could start as soon as this summer in Vietnam.
David Zander (Spring Breakers) will produce The Things They Carried for MJZ, and Scott B. Smith (A Simple Plan) wrote the script.
I'm a fan of the book. It's full of poetic language, dystopic visuals, and emotional passages. Just listen to the author read an excerpt from the novel.
Given the welcoming reception of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, it will be interesting to see how mainstream audiences deal with a narrative broken into disparate pieces. Since the book is a series of vignettes, I'm also interested in seeing how the movie blends them together into one story or if each story remains separated.
Sanders' work has always been visually stunning, so it will be intriguing to see his take on a war movie. The book is highly emotional, so there's a lot of heavy lifting from both a script and director to get these emotions onto the screen without being melodramatic.
The thought of an open casting gives me hope that a group of unknowns or underseen actors could make this a special project and help Sanders finally break out with both critical acclaim and box office success.
What's Next? Get a movie idea from the Public Domain!
At some point, someone decided the book that they had to read in school would make a good movie. While you might not have enough clout to get to that sort of attention, you can always mine for legends and stories in the Public Domain.
Nowadays, it's important to show people how your idea can reach a mass audience. Getting stories everyone has heard or helps, and not having to pay for the rights helps even more.
The Things They Carried Audiobook
I'm not sure this is strictly legal, but the audiobook is all over the internet. As such, I am posting a link to it here. Bryan Cranston narrates. It's a wonderful experience.
TIME GUIDE: The things they carried 0:40love 47:32spin 52:44on the rainy river 1:03:38enemies 1:46:25friends 1:49:52how to tell a true war story 1:52:48the dentist 2:26:21Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong 2:30:32Stocking 3:17:47Church 3:20:34The man I killed 3:27:03Ambush 3:39:22Style 3:45:14Speaking of Courage 3:47:53Notes 4:17:49In the Field 4:28:38Good Form 4:56:21Field Trip 4:58:39The Ghost Soldiers 5:10:24Night Life 5:59:58The lives of the dead 6:08:28