August 24, 2009

Mendes to bring Netherland to the big screen

Will Luke

The Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes is planning to bring Joseph O’Neill’s acclaimed Netherland to the big screen.

Netherland took O’Neill seven years to write, and he struggled to get it published, but once it was finally in print the reviews were gushing. Set in New York and based on the city’s thriving but seedy world of cricket, it portrays a poignant and at times disturbing view of post-9/11 America.

Mendes, a fervent cricket fan, has asked Christopher Hampton – whose screenplays include Atonement - to adapt O’Neill’s novel and plan to film it some time next year.

"It is a beautifully written book and I quail at the idea of adapting it," Hampton tole The Guardian. "This is a very difficult project, I know that. When Sam first asked me, I said it was too difficult and that I could not do it. But Sam was very persistent and quite eloquent too.

"I don't know why Sam wanted me to do it, but I do know he feels that he has to make it. He told me there really isn't anybody else who could make this film, since he is both a film director and an expat cricket-lover living in New York.”

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

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