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Tuesday Book News: James Patterson, Stephen King, Guillermo del Toro, and More

  • Cross Your Heart: From Morgan Freeman to Idris Elba (a.k.a. Stringer Belle on The Wire) to... Tyler Perry?? What kind of nightmare casting descent is this?

    Nope, not a wacky rom-com. It's Alex Cross, the hero of the mega-bestselling crime series that made James Patterson a household name (if your household is a bookstore) that appears with a new title on the "New Releases" shelf about, oh, once a month.

    According to Deadline, Tyler Perry — the prolific writer/director of such films as Diary of a Mad Black Woman and Why Did I Get Married?, but perhaps best known for his cross-dressing alter-ego, Medea — will be playing the detective in the latest film reboot.

    You might recall that Morgan Freeman played Cross in two previous films, Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Even though those were generic, boilerplate serial-killer flicks, Freeman leaves behind some mighty big shoes to fill. Or does he?

  • Still Standing: Despite already being turned into an eight-hour miniseries, Stephen King's mammoth novel The Stand is being talked about for a feature-film adaptation:

    Warner Bros. and CBS Films are teaming to adapt the novel, which in many ways set the bar for a generation of post-apocalyptic stories and influenced works ranging from TV's Lost to music group Anthrax.

    Will it be a tight condensation of the sprawling storyline, or a multi-film series to go along with Ron Howard's filming of King's Dark Tower books? Stay tuned.

  • Profiles in (Book) Courage: Geoff Nicholson writes in the New York Times about the hazards of books and social networking:

    I pray that no F.B.I. agent, criminal profiler or (worst of all) news pundit ever gets a look at my bookshelves. There, alongside Swift, Plato, Lewis Carroll and Marx, you’d find the Marquis de Sade, Mickey Spillane, Hitler and Ann Coulter. Books are acquired for all kinds of reasons, including curiosity, irony, guilty pleasure and the desire to understand the enemy (not to mention free review copies), but you try telling that to a G-man. It seems perfectly obvious to me that owning a copy of “Mein Kampf” doesn’t mean you’re a Nazi, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    Remember, kids: clicking "like" is all good and harmless fun... until an FBI profiler is examining your likes. What does your Facebook page say about you — besides that you're frequently bored and surfing the net at work?

  • Guillermo's Labyrinth: The New Yorker profiles Guillermo del Toro, the filmmaker of Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy movies, and the co-writer of the Strain trilogy of vampire novels.

    Although del Toro makes suspenseful movies, he often seems less like a disciple of Alfred Hitchcock than of Hieronymus Boschdon’t see myself ever doing a ‘normal’ movie,” del Toro said. “I love the creation of these things—I love the sculpting, I love the coloring. Half the joy is fabricating the world, the creatures.” The movie that he most longs to make is an adaptation of a grandly ridiculous H. P. Lovecraft novella, “At the Mountains of Madness,” in which explorers, venturing into Antarctica, discover malevolent aliens in a frozen, ruined city. Some of the aliens mutate wildly, which would allow del Toro to create dozens of extreme incarnations. He said, “If I get to do it, those monsters will be so terrifying."

    Fans of pulp and monster movies, cross your fingers!

  • Let the Internet Do the Walking: In a different kind of book news, San Francisco is "passing a law that will ban the distribution of phone books unless phone book publishers obtain prior consent from individuals and businesses to drop the books off."

    I hear a lot of trees cheering... not to mention home owners who no longer have to trip over those bricks tossed at their front doors.

÷ ÷ ÷

Chris Bolton co-created the all-ages webcomic Smash, which will soon be published by Candlewick Press, and created the comedy series Wage Slaves. His short story "The Red Room" was published in Portland Noir from Akashic Books.

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