The acclaimed director’s next project will be the first adaptation of Don DeLillo’s acclaimed 1985 novel, White Noise.
Adam Driver is reported to star as the protagonist, Jack Gladney, while Greta Gerwig (Baumbach’s real-life partner) is likely to play Jack’s wife, Babette. Shooting will commence in June, according to a Production Weekly listing.
The novel focuses on the life of Jack Gladney, a professor of Hitler Studies, and his wife Babette. Their fear of dying is set up in the first half of the novel, which is, broadly, an academic satire. Soon, an apocalyptic chemical leak happens in their town, Blacksmith; the rest of the book follows the breakdown of the family.
This is the first film adaptation of White Noise since its publication 35 years ago, despite its status as a classic of postmodern literature. Historically, Don DeLillo’s novels have not fared well onscreen: David Cronenberg’s adaptation of Cosmopolis was a box office bomb, while Benoît Jacquot’s Never Ever (adapted from The Body Artist) released to mixed reviews. In 2016, it was announced that Michael Almereyda would adapt White Noise, although the screenplay never materialised.
This won’t be the first time that Baumbach, Driver and Gerwig have worked together. Baumbach’s latest release, Marriage Story, starred Adam Driver, while Gerwig and Baumbach co-wrote Frances Ha and Mistress America. Driver and Gerwig also starred together in Frances Ha. Baumbach is known for directing original works, with this announcement marking his first adaptation.
Baumbach has quite the task to adapt this text for the screen. It will be fascinating to see how this realist-absurdist critique of mass consumerism, psychological fragility, dystopian America and minimal plot is adapted for the cinema. No release date has yet been announced, although it has been confirmed that the film will be a Netflix production.
Words by Georgia Fulton
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