Writer/director Greg Mottola has been tapped to adapt Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugendies’ novel The Marriage Plot. Mottola is probably best known for helming Superbad, but he also wrote and directed the excellent coming-of-age dramedy Adventureland and helmed Simon Pegg and Nick Frost in 2011’s Paul. Variety reports that Mottola is in early talks to write the script for the project, and they speculate that Mottola could also direct given that his schedule is clear in the near future. The story focuses on a love triangle involved three graduates of Brown in the 1980s. Producer Scott Rudin (The Social Network) acquired the feature rights last November, and it appears he’s eager to get things going.
Mottola most recently directed the pilot and created the visual language for Aaron Sorkin’s highly anticipated new HBO series The Newsroom, also produced by Rudin. I’m a huge, huge fan of Adventureland, and the kind of “coming-of-age” story that The Marriage Plot involves sounds like it’s right up Mottola’s alley. Hit the jump for a synopsis of The Marriage Plot.
It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels.
As Madeleine tries to understand why “it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France,” real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead—charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy—suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old “friend” Mitchell Grammaticus—who’s been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange—resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate.
Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can’t escape the secret responsible for Leonard’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love.
Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives. [Amazon]