Actor Jim Sturgess turns the big 3-0 today, so what better time to take a peek at his upcoming film… which just so happens to be one of my Three Most Highly Anticipated Movies of Summer 2011 (the other two being The Hangover: Part II and the final Harry Potter)?
The film I’m talking about, in which Sturgess plays one half of a not-necessarily-romantic couple that we get to check in with every July 15 for twenty years, is One Day, and the reason I’m so anxious to see it is because it’s an adaptation of one of my Top Five Favorite Books of All Time. Not since The Time Traveler’s Wife hit theaters in 2009 have I been this nervous about a page-to-screen transition, and with good reason: Anne Hathway is the lead actress, and we all know she’s not exactly someone I can usually tolerate for more than five minutes. (Nope, Locke’s thinly veiled love letter to her didn’t change my mind at all.)
Sturgess, on the other hand, I absolutely adore. And while he’s not at all how I pictured the hard-partying, self-absorbed Dexter, after seeing the trailer below, I feel confident that he can pull off the role. Unsurprisingly, I can’t say the same for Hathaway. She’s portraying Emma, the levelheaded and shy classmate Dexter meets on their college graduation day (July 15, 1988) and continues to keep in touch with over the decades. My biggest issue is The Accent. Watch the clips and then tell me whether you agree it sounds like she just stepped out of How to Play British 101 classroom. (And in case you think I’m the only fan of the novel who’s questioning this casting choice, I’m not.)
So aside from The Accent and The World’s Most Tonally Inappropriate Voiceover (which is obviously — and thankfully — not a part of the film), I’m not sure what’s sitting poorly with me about this preview, but something is. You see, One Day is a great book. A book that I think everyone should read. Although its cover and this trailer make it look a little Chick Flick-ish, you must believe me that its story and message are universally appealing. There is not a person — male or female — I’ve recommended One Day to who hasn’t thanked me profusely for the suggestion after they’ve finished it. (It was written by David Nicholls, who’s been dubbed “the next Nick Hornby” (High Fidelity, About a Boy), if that helps persuade you.)
Although we’ve talked often on this site about how it’s usually a bad idea to read a book within six months to a year of seeing its big-screen version, I urge you, you, and yes, even you, to read One Day RIGHT NOW. It’s so unique, so honest about the dumb decisions we all make, and so unforgettable that I think it would be a crying shame if anyone saw the film first. In case it’s not obvious, let me be explicit: Read the book first in case the film adaptation ruins it. In fact, just read the book first regardless, because there’s no way the film can be as good. It’s that kind of story.
Clearly I’m concerned about the prospects for One Day based on its trailer, but what’s giving me the teeniest bit of hope — aside from the fact that Nicholls himself wrote the screenplay — is that I loved how Danish director Lone Scherfig handled An Education. You might recall that the aforementioned Nick Hornby penned the screenplay for An Education, which grew out of an autobiographical article by British journalist Lynne Barber and went on to receive a Best Picture nod in 2009.
Since One Day is an international bestseller that almost all of its fans feel very strongly about, I hope others who have read it chime in to the comments section below and share their impressions of what we’ve seen so far.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering why One Day is opening on August 19 instead of the date that’s so central to its story — July 15 — I’m assuming we can blame a lightning-bolt-scarred teenager named Harry who’s guaranteed to steal the spotlight that week.
Redbox movies from the cast of One Day: