5 Reasons Sarah Polley Should Helm John Green's 'Looking for Alaska'
Rejoice, fans of John Green's nonstop YA cryfest domination: his first novel, the 2005 Looking for Alaska, has found new life, cinematically speaking, at Paramount. The studio has long held the rights to turn the story into a film, and with the success of The Fault in Our Stars , the idea is being reconsidered with Sarah Polley at the helm. This, lovers of stories, is a very, very good thing.
Particularly because of Polley.
Sure, John Green is very good with the words and crafting a heartstring-pulling ode to love and life and growing up, but in Polley's deft hands, the story has the opportunity to truly shine. So we've broken down the reasons for you.
First off, though, we'd be remiss if we didn't explain Looking for Alaska's plot. The book follows its narrator, Miles Halter, as he moves to a boarding high school in Alabama. There he meets his roommate Chip "The Colonel" Martin and receives the uncharacteristic nickname of Pudge. From there he meets Alaska, a young girl that's pretty (of course) but a little emotionally volatile (also of course). And while it could be very easy for this story to go into the "manic pixie dream girl opens lost teen boy's life" territory, with Polley at the helm we're sure it will not. Why?
Because She Knows How to Bring Characters to Life
She's incredibly expressive — which will no doubt be an asset to her when it comes to directing. And in addition to being an actress, she's a writer-director, which means she has an intimate understanding on all fronts on what it takes to create fully realized characters on screen. Nuance, my friends, the answer is always in subtlety and nuance.
She Deals Intimately with the Hard Stories of People
Her truly incredible 2012 documentary, Stories We Tell, was all about diving into the hard stories, and Looking For Alaska was not without its share of controversy, particularly in regard to its portrayals of teen sexy times, alcohol, and drug use. Unearthing the truth surrounding Alaska is part of the mystery the boys face throughout the novel. Under Polley's direction, we're certain the work will transcend Green's pages.
Troubled Teen Emotions? Polley's Done It (And Nailed It)
If any of you have seen The Sweet Hereafter, the adaptation of Russell Banks' novel by Atom Egoyan, you know that Polley's portrayal of paralyzed teen Nicole Burnell was, for all intents and purposes, perfect (the film holds a super-duper rare 100 percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes). If anyone knows how to relay troubled teen emotions on screen, it's her.
To Say Nothing of the Tragic Accident Aspect
We won't give things away on either end, but let's just say tragedy is sort of in Polley's wheelhouse. The aftermath of tragedy? Yeah, she knows a thing or two about that.
Besides, It'd Be Nice to See an Up-and-Coming Woman Director Nab the Job
You know who knows how to avoid manic pixie dream girl clichés that are really just so tired and old? Really solidly footed female directors and writers. And guess what? Polley is exactly that.