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ROOM by Emma Donoghue Headed to the Movies

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Brenna Clarke Gray

Staff Writer

Part muppet and part college faculty member, Brenna Clarke Gray holds a PhD in Canadian Literature while simultaneously holding two cats named Chaucer and Swift. It's a juggling act. Raised in small-town Ontario, Brenna has since been transported by school to the Atlantic provinces and by work to the Vancouver area, where she now lives with her stylish cyclist/webgeek husband and the aforementioned cats. When not posing by day as a forserious academic, she can be found painting her nails and watching Degrassi (through the critical lens of awesomeness). She posts about graphic narratives at Graphixia, and occasionally she remembers to update her own blog, Not That Kind of Doctor. Blog: Not That Kind of Doctor Twitter: @brennacgray

Oh how I loved the experience of reading Emma Donoghue’s intoxicating, bizarre, obsessive Room in 2010. I read it in about 24 hours and then ugly-cried every time I thought about any of the characters for the next 48. A real triumph of limited narration, Room tells the story of five-year-old Jack and his mother as Jack begins to ask questions about why he has never been outside, and comes to learn about the world beyond the four walls where he and his mother live in captivity. Oh, and it’s told entirely in Jack’s voice. The novel won, like, every award it was eligible for, not only in Donoghue’s home here in Canada but around the world.

One of those literary phenoms, if you will.

This weekend, Donoghue announced details of the movie version on Twitter!

I am so pleased with the choice of Brie Larson. You might know her as Abed’s girlfriend on Community, the eldest daughter on United States of Tara, or Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I think she’s a good choice: she has a lot of range and can balance the fragility and strength that Jack’s mother needs to have.

More exciting, I think, is the choice to have Donoghue herself pen the screenplay. It is a giant pet peeve of mine when novels by women are immediately handed over to male screenwriters and I’m thrilled that confidence in Donoghue is high enough to allow her to adapt her own story.

The wildcard for me here in Lenny Abrahamson. He’s an Irish filmmaker and I don’t know a thing about his work. The challenge will be to carry the limited storytelling over to film; I don’t think of this as an especially visual novel, so I can’t quite imagine how it will work on screen. I love this book so much though that I’m excited to see what happens with it.

What do you think about this news? Are you excited, or maybe trepidatious? Who would you cast in the other roles? Let’s chat about it in the comments!