Long gestating Martin Amis adaptation starts shooting, with Katy Perry promo director Matthew Cullen on board
• Read our 2001 interview with Martin Amis
It has languished in Hollywood purgatory for well over a decade while directors of the calibre of David Cronenberg, Michael Winterbottom and Shekhar Kapur have come and gone. But Martin Amis’s most celebrated novel, London Fields, is finally due to begin shooting today in the British capital with a high-profile cast that includes Amber Heard, Billy Bob Thornton and Jim Sturgess.
Guillermo del Toro protege Mathew Cullen will make his feature film debut on the project after cutting his teeth on commercials and music videos, as well as overseeing the prologue for the Mexican film-maker’s current blockbuster Pacific Rim. The big screen version, the screenplay for which Amis has written himself with Roberta Hanley, does not look to have diverted too far from the 1989 novel. It centres on clairvoyant “murderee” Nicola Six (Heard), who plans to document her own imminent departure from this mortal coil with the help of a terminally-ill American with writer’s block (Thornton), the book’s unreliable narrator.
Sturgess plays the key character of Keith Talent, a petty criminal, occasional illegal minicab driver and wannabe darts champion who may or may not be her eventual killer. Theo James plays unhappily married banker Guy Clinch, who also finds himself drawn into the unsavoury plot.
Amis adaptations have something of a chequered history, with both Dead Babies and The Rachel Papers picking up critical brickbats upon release, and a proposed adaptation of 1985’s Money starring Gary Oldman failing to materialise. With the novelist having been working on the London Fields screenplay since at least 2008, the fact that production has finally begun will presumably come as something of a relief for the 64-year-old writer. That it is being overseen by the director of Katy Perry’s California Gurls video is something of an unusual last-minute twist in the tale.
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