Cameron Diaz in What to Expect When You're Expecting/Photo: Melissa Moseley/Lionsgate
From the first line of chapter one, I feel I might be in the wrong place, meandering through Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel’s preggers bible What to Expect When You’re Expecting. That opening chapter, headed “Before You Conceive,” begins, “So you’ve made the decision to start a family (or grow the family you’re already started).” Well, not exactly. I’m just here to bone up on Jennifer Lopez’s character before the launch of this summer’s first tent-pole release with the same title. You know, the one with the poster of J.Lo clutching this door-stopper of a book to her halter-clad bosom?
By the “Take a prenatal vitamin” subhead, I get antsy and flip to the index. Nothing sits between “-Lochia” and “-Lotion, scented” where “-Lopez, Jennifer” ought to be. Noticing there’s an entire page devoted to the “foul smell” of this Lochia, I snap the book closed, wondering how the screenwriters will wring a Jennifer Lopez original out of this dry, hysteria-inducing material?
Entertainment Weekly‘s already reported, “The ‘American Idol’ star will play Holly, a woman who adopts a baby from abroad with her husband after difficulty conceiving, in one of the four interweaving tales that will make up the ensemble film, à la ‘Love Actually.’” We’ll just have to wait until May 18 – on the heels of Mother’s Day, natch – to learn the rest. But in the meantime, we’re rounding up a few perennial self-help-esque titles to see what’s already out there adaptation-wise and what we might still be expecting.
Book: The Bible
What’s on Netflix: Moses alone has inspired everything from Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 VistaVision remake of his 1923 silent epic “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston in the lead to DreamWorks Animation inaugural voyage “The Prince of Egypt” with Val Kilmer giving voice to Moses. This film has the distinction of unifying not only the Israelites, but, more astoundingly, Whitney and Mariah, who took home matching Oscars in 1999 for their duet “When You Believe.”
What’s in Development: Back when they were just forming DreamWorks in Steven Spielberg’s living room, the director turned to Jeffrey Katzenberg and said, “You ought to do the Ten Commandments.” Never one to ignore his own advice, Spielberg is prepping his own Moses epic, “Gods and Kings,” for a Warner Brothers’ 2013 release.
What We’re Expecting: Hey, didn’t Val Kilmer also make a Moses musical, with BCBG fashionista Max Azria footing the colossal bill? And didn’t a then-unknown Adam Lambert play Kilmer’s No. 2, Joshua? The debacle never made it to Broadway, but is captured on DVD in a live performance from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Still, where’s the big-screen musical, already? “Let my people go … to the movies.”
Book: He’s Just Not That Into You
What’s on Netflix: Ken Kwapis’ 2009 film based on Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s 2004 book of the same title was critically panned, but raked in $180 million worldwide, we’re assuming primarily on airplanes. This thinly veiled chick-flick is produced by Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films and available, but so is Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo’s greater triumph, their overlapping 2002 penultimate season of “Sex and the City,” cut short by Sarah Jessica Parker and Cynthia Nixon’s pregnancies, but one that contains some of the franchise’s finest moments, including the show’s Fleet Week-themed response to 9/11 and a raucous trip to Los Angeles.
What’s in Development: Despite the box office success of “He’s Just Not That Into You,” both Behrendt and Tuccillo continue to nix a sequel.
What We’re Expecting: While “He’s Still Just Not Into You” languishes, what’s to stop some enterprising screenwriter from adapting any one of the sixteen seasons of ABC’s “The Bachelor”? We suggest starting with season 11′s double-nixing Brad Womack or everyone’s favorite super-douche Jake Pavelka from season 14.
Book: Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book
What’s on Netflix: In 1935, when William Griffith Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith founded Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio, they were just trying to stay sober. The two, better known as Bill W. and Dr. Bob, had no idea they were paving the way for what is still the most popular treatment for addiction: the twelve-step approach. The Big Book they penned together in 1939 has gone onto sell 30 million copies, making it one of the best-selling self-help books of all time. Though James Woods has an Emmy for his titular turn in the 1989 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie “My Name Is Bill W.,” the twenty-four recovery testimonials added to 2001′s fourth edition remain largely undramatized due to the organization’s policy of “attraction, not promotion.” However, works of thinly disguised fiction from Ray Milland’s Oscar-winning performance in Billy Wilder’s 1945 film “The Lost Weekend” to Meryl Streep’s overlooked turn in Mike Nichols’ adaptation of Carrie Fisher’s “Postcards from the Edge” are readily available.
What’s in Development: The Princess formerly known as Leia details an oxycontin-snorting relapse on the national tour of her one-woman show “Wishful Drinking” in last year’s book Shockaholic. Can a big-screen “Postcards from the Edge” sequel be far behind? Carrie Fisher already penned the source material in 2004′s “The Best Awful.” One day at a time and all, but where’s the movie already?
What We’re Expecting: Two words: Lindsay Lohan. As evidenced by her recent hosting duties on “SNL,” Li.Lo is back. And she’s already shuttled one major self-help tome to the big screen with 2004′s “Mean Girls,” Tina Fey’s adaptation of Rosalind Wiseman’s high school survival guide for chicks, Queen Bees and Wannabees. Failed drug tests and a stolen necklace scotched projects as mob wife extraordinaire Kim Gotti and porn princess Linda Lovelace, but her Elizabeth Taylor in Lifetime’s “Liz and Dick” TV movie was just announced. Come on, Tina; if you’re not down for penning Lohan’s still-in-progress life story, surely there’s a part for the Lindsantor in “Mean Moms,” the adaptation of Wiseman’s second book, Queen Bee Moms & King Pin Dads.