Monday, January 21, 2008


So...I was dealt a crushing blow today. That sounds quite melodramatic, but it's really how I feel about the whole issue. There's a book I reread at least once every year and have for the past 20 years or so. It's a "young adult" book that I bought from the Scholastic book club while in elementary school. It's my all-time favorite in the world...ever...and it's absolutely wonderful, even when read as a 33 year old. (Yikes! I'm 33!)
Here's the love: The Westing game by Ellen Raskin
It's always been my dream that one day this fabulous story would be told on the silver screen...and that by miracle of miracles, I'd not only cast the film, but also author the adapted screenplay (Ellen Raskin, its author, died many years ago), and produce the soundtrack. Lofty aspirations, huh? Like I'm fond of saying, I dream big. I mean, if you're gonna dream, do it big. Duh!

Today I decided to check on Wikipedia (one of my fave sites!) to see if there was a listing for The Westing Game, and was completely blindsided to learn the book had already been turned into a made-for-TV-movie. I searched it out on Amazon and my disappointment turned to despair. Not only was my book already a moving picture, but apparently it's been very poorly done. The standard rape of the original story had been committed...characters changed (age and race seem to be most prevalent), locations removed, and a simple, basic hack of the storyline. And the cast? not the one of my dreams. Horror of horrors! I'm quite certain Ms. Raskin is shifting in her grave.

Here I've been making this movie in my head for a couple of decades now, only to discover that someone stole my idea. (Because you know I was the only one to ever think of it--most people have never even heard of this book! I'm maintaining this one 'til the end!) And yeah, so my dream cast has had to evolve over the years...Beverly D'Angelo is not quite as young as she used to be, and Pat Morita died years ago. But Chevy Chase, Shirley MacLaine, Tim Curry and Kathy Bates, among others, are still available. And well overdue for a box office hit, I might add.

Now this dream has been diminished--and I don't say "died"--because I could still work some magic on a screenplay one day (hey Raskin family members--give me a call, please!). And I was tempted to buy the DVD from Amazon but my adoration of this little novel would be forever tainted by viewing a less than stellar adaptation, so I refrained...and saved money. Bonuses all around!

Y'all are probably wondering why on earth I'm telling you all of this. Well, (a) it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to, and (b) I'm hoping all this rambling will lead you to go out and purchase your very own copy of The Westing Game. (Amazon has it for $6.99--it's worth way more than that. Way. More.) You must read this book--then report back to me on how we can turn it into an Academy Award winner. Then we can be on Oprah, in People, and basically all-around famous...and I'll finally get to meet Tim Curry. Sigh...


infarrantly creative said...

Sad day. I have not read the story but you may have tempted me to.

Kelly said...

girl. hello, a book can be made into a movie more than once, PARTICULARLY if the first time it was done poorly. so. the dream is still alive, if somewhat offended that you have attempted to flush it down the toilet. get out the blow dryer and work on your first draft.

Kelly said...

okay, okay, you said diminished. so you didn't actually attempt a flush. but still, i speak as your downtrodden dream. do it.