Joan Didion May Be Coming To A Theater Near You
Literary icon Joan Didion may soon make her mark as a silver-screen icon, too: the writer’s 1967 essay "Goodbye to All That" has been optioned by producers Megan Carlson and Brian Sullivan of Carlson Sullivan Pictures LLC.
The news comes hot on the heels of Didion’s pop-cultural resurgence. Earlier this year, the achingly cool French fashion house Céline debuted a new ad campaign featuring the 80-year-old photographed by Juergen Teller (in Hollywood-worthy black sunnies, no less). And last year, filmmaker Griffin Dunne — who also happens to be Didion’s nephew — released a trailer for We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live , his forthcoming, Kickstarter-funded documentary on the writer.
"Goodbye to All That," which originally appeared in Didion's seminal collection Slouching Towards Bethlehem, chronicles the young writer’s fleeing her adopted home of New York for the jasmine-scented coastal air of California, where she then launched her fruitful career.
That essay has since become a staple of the genre. Beyond offering a spate of refrigerator-worthy quotes, Slouching Towards Bethlehem has inspired a new generation of personal essayists. “Goodbye to All That” in particular has even spawned its own city-abandonment subgenre — as evidenced in Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, a 2013 anthology edited by Sari Botton that features Didion-inspired essays by writers like Roxane Gay, Emma Straub, and Dani Shapiro.
Adapting Didion's beloved essay into a feature film has apparently (secretly) been in the works for decades. According to producer Brian Sullivan,
“It’s been a dream of mine for years to bring this essay to the screen. I tried to option it as a student when I was at the San Francisco Art Institute and was turned down. It’s been a part of my being for 40 years, and then the planets aligned and here we are. The moment has come for Goodbye To All That.”
We'll be keeping our eyes peeled for more details about the movie — especially about which lucky actress will be chosen to portray Didion. (My money's on Sienna Miller.)