Ruta Sepetys’s bestselling and acclaimed 2011 young-adult novel, Between Shades of Gray, placed the Nashville author in a small group of writers who have received equal critical and commercial success. It’s no surprise that Hollywood would take notice, and the good news is that production of the film version seems to be in very capable hands.
The film version will be written by Ben York Jones, best known as the writer of the independent film Like Crazy, which won the 2011 Sundance Award. The director is Marius Markevicius, whose previous movie, The Other Dream Team, follows the story of the Lithuanian basketball team that upset the United States during the 1992 Olympics. Since Between Shades of Gray is about a Lithuanian teenager whose family is forced into a Russian work camp during World War II, this seems like an ideal match of director and subject matter. Filming is expected to begin this year, with no release date set. The filmmakers have said that the title of the film will be different from the book, to avoid audience confusion with the similarly titled Between Shades of Grey trilogy.
Meanwhile, if Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey’s comeback story seems made for Hollywood, now it officially is. Dickey’s bestselling memoir, Wherever I Wind Up, has been optioned by A Thing or Two Productions, which is co-owned by actor Ben McKenzie, known for the television series The O.C., Southland, and Gotham. Neither McKenzie nor his business partner, actor Logan Marshall-Green, is expected to play Dickey in the movie. The screenplay will be written by Buzz Bissinger, famed for the nonfiction book Friday Night Lights, which led to the film and television series.
McKenzie and Green flew to Nashville to meet with Dickey at his home as he fielded multiple offers for his life story. Wherever I Wind Up was a critical and commercial success in 2012, the same year Dickey was the National League’s Cy Young Award recipient. The film is in development with no casting or production details announced.
For more updates on Tennessee authors, please visit Chapter 16’s News & Notes page, here.