30th June 2015: The joys and woes of film adaptations

Yesterday I read a wonderful article in the online Australian Guardian about the film adaptation of Looking For Alibrandi. (see attachment below)

Back in 2000, the film came out on the same day as Gladiator and the same year as Chopper, two well made and acted films about men and violence. In a way, it seemed as if we didn’t stand a chance, yet Alibrandi found a place for itself. But dare I ask over and over again, where is the cultural diversity in our films and TV shows today? There are less Josie Alibrandi types on Australian screens these days than fifteen years ago. Some might see that as assimilation, but I’d  say it’s regression.

To be honest, I sometimes wonder if Alibrandi would have been made in today’s Australian film climate, and not just because of cultural identity.  Getting distribution for films is so much about risk taking, and if there’s something that I’ve come to understand from the Jellicoe experience, it’s that distributors won’t take risks when it comes to adaptations about teenagers that don’t have millions of readers or a ready-made market.  Which is such a pity because Alibrandi didn’t have millions of readers, but the novel struck a nerve in the way that both the Jellicoe novel and script has.  Let’s hope that one day Jellicoe will become a reality because Taylor Markham is fearless and vulnerable and annoying and endearing in the same way Josie Alibrandi is.


10 thoughts on “30th June 2015: The joys and woes of film adaptations

  1. Pingback: Book-to-Movie Adaptations I Need RIGHT NOW | Jackie Lea Sommers

  2. marshmallowmisa

    I’m a student and we just read On The Jellicoe road and I loved it so much! In fact, if it was to become a movie (and I’m sure it will) I would love to play a part in it (I’m from Canberra) but I’m Asian and there really aren’t any Koreans besides Anson, but that’s a guy 😭 Anyway, keep making our dreams come true with a movie! I love your books!

  3. dee

    It will happen one day soon, and I’m sure when it does we will all be grateful and think ‘there’s no way this could have been done any differently, it was worth the wait’. Just remember about the huge crowd of readers that have loved Jellicoe forever, because if you call upon us to help make it happen, we will be there! (Personally, I would give a lot to be a part of it, it means so much to me)

  4. Meghan wright

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE never give up attempting to make Jelicoe movie a reality.
    I have read the book 31 times, it has taught me thousands of lessons and always manages to say something new in each read. As people have said before, it is magic (like all of your writing). The film adaptation excites me and my friends enormously, a new point of view on a spectacular storyline will be the icing on the already incredible cake. A distributer somewhere will fall in love with it. Push it, and please never stop.

  5. thomasullman14


    For reasons that are too tedious to go into I usually show kids at my school the film of ‘Looking for Alibrandi’….maybe it’s to show something that isn’t British or American. It is always very popular with 15/16 year olds here in Sweden many of whom are sons and daughters of ‘invandrare’ (immigrants). I particularly love Jacob’s speech where he gives the best reason ever for voting.

  6. forthejokes

    Reblogged this on Insert title here (no, seriously) and commented:
    I’d never thought about this before, but it’s true. Just this morning Looking for Alibrandi dropped on Stan, and I wondered what happened to Pia Miranda. There is no single ‘Australian’ experience, and I hope our entertainment industry recognises that. There is a myriad of issues in the Australian film and television industry, including the dearth of reality programming we have now. Australia’s cultural diversity is part of cooking shows like MasterChef, but The Block has been criticised for its colour-blindness, and we need to do better.

  7. Tiffany

    I agree with Jen! I’m hard-pressed to keep up with movies these days because of all the sexism and blatant white-washing of characters & cultures. I love Jellicoe Road for so many reasons, one being the representation of so many different personalities, cultures, and backgrounds without ever feeling forced. I hope those things make it to the film (and I hope the film actually comes to fruition!).

  8. homeboundlaine

    oh, no. I’m a big fan of On the Jellicoe Road! I was actually hoping the movie would get released internationally, so I could get to watch it here in the Philippines. 😦

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Taylor. I truly hope she makes it to the big screen.

  9. jen

    It is terrible in America as well! And the blatant sexism has me turned off of movies entirely. I think the only way to battle through is to do exactly what you’re doing. Write the amazing book, write the amazing script, stick to your guns. One film at a time … Best of luck and thank you for Jellicoe Road. It is my absolute favorite book.

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