Sunday, March 2, 2014

From Book to Movie: The Rithmatist - Brandon Sanderson's Harry Potter

The Rithmatist Book Cover

The Fantasy Author's best bet for a sucessful movie franchise?


More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery, one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever. (Source:

Why would this be a good movie?

Movies sell, when they are like other, sucessful movies - but a little bit different. 
The Rithmatist could fill the void left by the end of the Harry Potter saga. The books are the same in that they both play largely at a school for magic. This is the greatest in for every marketing director... But the similarities end right there, because Joel can not use magic - but this doesn't stop him from investigating the kidnappings. 
The Rithmatist plays in an alternative history of the United States, which consists of several islands connected by a train network, making for a great, interesting setting.
But, and that is the most important aspect, the story pulls the reader through the book without letting go. The plot is intriguing, layered and exciting - and would transport without effort onto the silver screen.
Another nice bonus: the budget is rather manageable. There are only a few key roles to be cast, no huge sets or battles. If this is a blockbuster, his other books are just waiting to be turned into movies.

Who should direct it? Who should play in it?

Director: Gil Kenan (Monster House, City of Ember) could bring the right visual appeal and YA'ness to it. Right now he is in Post-Production on the Poltergeist-Remake.

Joel: Our young protagonist could be played by Tom Holland (not to be confused with Tom Hollander), best known from The Impossible. I think he has the right naive determination his role needs.

Melody Muns: The clumsy, girl who is a Rithmatist, but not very good at it, could be played by the great Maisie Williams, who stunned everybody on Games of Thrones.

Andrew Nalizar: The arrogant, brash young professor with a secret, should be played by fan-favourite Tom Hiddleston. He can switch between dangerously cunning and charming like no one else.

Professor Fitch: Reduced to the lowest rank after a lost match against Nalizar, Fitch is only a shadow of his former self. Nonetheless, he wants to help those poor missing kids. My dream actor would be Kevin Spacey. He has never done Fantasy - or much genre at all - and would really kill the distraught, unwilling mentor figure in a world he doesn't really understand anymore. 

That's it! Have a great week!

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