inspired by…

by kellie abrahamson
They say there’s nothing new under the sun and most of the time they’re right. Much of what we’re treated to in the realm of entertainment is either a sly rip off of something else or a blatant one. Sure, its fun to see your favorite literary characters come to life, but most of the time the book (or comic book or novella or graphic novel) is way better. So beginning this month EU will give you the lowdown on which upcoming stage shows, movies and even video games were inspired by literature. It’s our hope that, in addition to checking out these new versions, you’ll give your library card a workout to see what it was that inspired them in the first place.

Man of LaMancha (January 15- February 15; Limelight Theatre, 904-825-1164)
Inspired by: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
This Broadway musical is all about the adventures of Don Quixote, a man who after becoming obsessed with stories of knights becomes one himself, if only in his mind. The musical won five Tony Awards and is best known for the hit song ‘The Impossible Dream.’

Puccini’s La Boheme (January 16- 25; Pedro Mendez Performing Arts Center, 904-417-5555)
Inspired by: The Bohemians of the Latin Quarter: Scènes de la Vie de Bohème by Henri Murger
Pucchini’s classic opera is based on Murger’s semi-autobiographical short stories. This operatic staple centers on Rodolfo and Mimi, star-crossed lovers who struggle with poverty and illness in 1840s Paris.

The Rainbow Fish (January 20; Florida Theatre, 276-6750)
Book: The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Pfister’s colorful children’s book about a selfish fish with glittering scales comes to the Florida Theatre stage as part of Theatreworks’ 08-09 season. The charming tale teaches kids about the importance of sharing and the dangers of vanity.

Not Easily Broken (in theaters January 9)
Inspired by: Not Easily Broken by TD Jakes
Megachurch pastor TD Jakes sees yet another of his books come to life with this story of a married couple struggling to keep their relationship together in the face of near tragedy and temptation. The film stars Morris Chestnut and Taraji P. Henson.

Hotel for Dogs (in theaters January 16)
Inspired by: Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan
In this classic kids’ book, a group of friends team up to rescue a hundred stray dogs by transforming a dilapidated hotel into a puppy palace. Tween A-listers Emma Roberts, Kyla Pratt and Jake T. Austin star in the film adaptation.

Inkheart (in theaters January 23)
Inspired by: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
This film will bring to life a book about books brought to life. Confused? Well, in Funke’s Inkworld series a man named Mo (played by Brendan Fraiser) has the ability to bring characters in books to the real world by simply reading aloud. The problem is he can also read real people into the story, which is what happened to his wife many years ago. With the help of his daughter (played by Eliza Bennett), Mo will attempt to rescue his wife and save the world from a literary baddie he accidently released.

Killshot (in theaters January 23)
Inspired by: Killshot by Elmore Leonard
In this action thriller, a couple (Diane Lane & Thomas Jane) placed in witness protection discovers they are the only ones who can protect themselves when the hit man (Mickey Rourke) they ratted out tracks them down.

The Uninvited (in theaters January 30)
Inspired by: the Korean folktale Janghwa Hongreyon jeon (“Rose Flower, Red Lotus”)
This film is actually a remake of the K-horror masterpiece A Tale of Two Sisters which drew inspiration from the above Korean folktale (which you can read in its entirety online). The story centers around two sisters who must contend with an evil stepmother and a frightening ghost.

video games
Lord of the Rings: Conquest (released January 9)
Inspired by: The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien
The rampant success of the movie version of this Tolkien classic has launched quite a few video games, the latest of which allows you to play on the side of good or the side of evil. The game will be available on PC, Xbox 360, PS3 and Nintendo DS.

Afro Samurai (released January 27)
Inspired by: the manga series Afro Samurai by Takashi Okazaki
In this game, like the mangas and the subsequent anime television series, Afro Samurai is out for the head of Justice, the man who killed Afro’s father when he was a child. Along the way, Afro must fight every chump that dares to challenge him. The game will be available on Xbox 360 and PS3.