OP-EDS

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May 21, 2004

Brad Pitt's next role: A Wrinkle in Time

My friend Allison and I want to make a movie and we want to call it A Wrinkle in Time. This will be a wondrous coincidence because it will, in fact, be a film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle. I know you're going to say, "But Leila, didn't ABC Family just make a film adaptation of this book?" And my answer is: Sure. But unlike ABC Family, I am going to make my adaptation not suck.

It is a travesty that this book has never been given the air time it deserves. Sure, the Disney Channel once turned A Ring Of Endless Light into a made-for-TV movie, which was kind of a step in the right direction, if your idea of "the right direction" is deifying lesser-known works of children's science-fiction writers. Also, A Ring Of Endless Light is about a girl trying to choose between two guys (and also trying to save dolphins from something vaguely nefarious). Disney made the unwise casting decision of having both her crushes be really attractive 14-year-old boys. Whichever one she ended up with, you were bound to be disappointed. But you can't encourage teenagers to have a threesome on the Disney Channel. Because that is probably not fun for the whole family.

But when that ever-venerable Disney corporation tried to adapt A Wrinkle In Time into a movie, they hit upon the stumbling block which has long thwarted Allison and my attempts: There are no hot redheaded guys.

See, there's this redheaded boy named Calvin in A Wrinkle In Time, and he's supposed to be really smart and help to save the world and stuff. However, in my retelling of this book, which involves lots of romance and lighthearted comedy and maybe some endearing mishaps, Calvin's primary role is being Meg's love interest. And you know what love interests can't be? Ugly.

Before all three of you redheaded guys start writing irate letters to the editor, defending your beauty and brawn, let me reassure you that I have been thorough about this. Whenever I see a redheaded man, I make a quick run-through of my checklist of Hot Guy Features to determine whether he is or is not good-looking enough to be Calvin. Unluckily, my Hot Guy Checklist includes the criterion "is not a redhead," so that is kind of thwarting.

No, seriously, I'm just being an asshole about this. I'm sure there are many, if not a full half-dozen attractive redheaded guys out there. It's just that none of them have approached me to say, "Leila, I have a deep and enduring need to save the universe from evil, rescue Meg Murry's father from a lifetime of imprisonment, and then make out with her a lot while you make a movie."

Disney dealt with this problem by making Calvin a brunette. This was a huge cop-out, but I guess the Disney execs grew sick of constantly hearing up-and-coming cinematographers say, "Hey, guys, I have an idea! Let's make a movie of A Wrinkle In Time!" And then his colleagues will say, "No, Hans! We discussed this last year. There do not exist handsome redheads with a penchant for world salvation!"

I am not ordinarily this single-mindedly devoted to adapting books into movies, but I recently saw Troy. This epic convinced me that any book that frequents school reading lists can indeed be turned into a highly profitable film, given that it features a shirtless Brad Pitt and some inaccurate portrayals of original text. Also key to box-office success is Orlando Bloom's shooting a bow and arrow, but I think we learned this lesson long ago.

I see no reason why A Wrinkle In Time cannot involve Brad Pitt running around naked. The tragedy is merely that we cannot, for our movie, dye his hair red and say, "Why look! It is Brad Pitt, Meg Murry's naked 40-year-old love interest!"

Indeed, the road to filmic success is fraught with effort and other things that suck. But it is worth it, in the long run, for the opportunity to revolutionize Hollywood and make a lot of money. Also, if a good version of A Wrinkle In Time is a big hit, it will accomplish something that no money can buy: getting all my math teachers from high school to admit that the fifth dimension does exist.