Paul Bettany and Olivia Williams led William Marsh’s adaptation of Amis’s Dead Babies in 2000, re-titled and shunted straight to video in the States under the safer title of Mood Swingers, but it is a mostly forgotten work leaving the only decent stab at an Amis book on-screen being the BBC adaptation of Money with Nick Frost a suitably fatuous John Self.
Rumours of an adaptation of Amis’s 1989 novel London Fields have come and gone over the last decade or so with David Cronenberg and Michael Winterbottom attaching, then detaching, themselves over time. THR now report that one of the projects director Shekhar Kapur has lined up in his future is the movie adaptation of the novel though there’s no indication of a date but as they say with the director’s long gestating project Paani (Water) and a third Elizabeth film on the cards it could be a while before we see the premonitions of Nicola Six realised on the big screen.
Unless, like Money, the period of the piece is maintained London Fields will require a notable shift in the background for the film. The events of Amis’s book are played out over an impending planet wide doom which is never explained in any detail – possibly millennial, most likely nuclear, and it’s hard to imagine the book without the darts, which play a prominent role in the ambitions of one of the main characters. The character of Nicola Six in particular in one of Amis’s finest, walking the streets of West London like a timebomb with a swagger that can stop traffic, it is her premonitions which fuel the mindgames of the story.
Suffice to say that there’s a lot of potential for the book to be the foundation for an excellent film with the doomed Nicola Six and Arrowman Keith Talent both goldmines for actors. Names which instantly spring to mind for Keith are Ray Winstone and Gary Oldman, both obvious but good choices, personally I’d pay good money to see Paddy Considine in the role and Rebecca Hall as Six. I wonder if Kapur will stick around to see the project through.
If you’re interested in one director’s interpretation London Fields you can watch Rob Kraut’s short Paging David Cronenberg which takes a scene of the book and turns it into… well, see for yourselves.