We told you this morning that Erik Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts is #10 on our Best Books of 2011 list, but now I have another exciting tidbit to share. The Hollywood Reporter has, well, reported that Universal has optioned the rights to Larson’s riveting nonfiction book about the first year of Nazi rule, with Tom Hanks to produce (and possibly star).
BookPage interviewed Larson for our May issue. Here’s a sampling from the conversation, about the author’s research for the book:
“When you get immersed in this era there’s something so repulsive about it that it can really drag you down,” Larson explains. “No one really studies the very first year of Hitler’s rule. This is about the first dark warnings on the horizon.
“What I found was that when you’re writing a book like this, in territory that has been pretty heavily mined in other ways, you have to read the basics. And there are a lot of basics to read. You just have to read and read and read. That’s what starts to infect you,” he says. “It’s the accumulation of these little bits and pieces of horror. It began to drag me down. And you feel this immense frustration: Why didn’t anybody do anything?”
Though Larson, author of The Devil in the White City, Thunderstruck and Isaac’s Storm, has never had a book be turned into a movie—faithful blog readers will know that The Devil in the White City is under development with Leonardo DiCaprio set to star.
By the way, though I’m sure many authors dream of having their books turned into blockbusters and finding themselves on “best of the year” lists, Larson has another distinction. On a downtown walk over the weekend, I stopped by the Legislative Plaza (home of the Southern Festival of Books) to see what was going on with Occupy Nashville. The “People’s Library” was stocked with a good number of volumes, mostly old paperbacks. However, I spied one protester deeply engrossed in a hardcover: a copy of In the Garden of Beasts.
What 2011 books would you like to see made into movies?