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For many, the grind is the same from one day to the next, and the only thing that ever changes is the weather. It seems like that would go double for anyone living during the late 1930s and early 1940s, when there wasn’t Internet or cable to keep them sated. I mean, there was the war…Ursula Todd, the main character in Kate Atkinson’s best-selling novel Life After Life, had the opposite problem, and got to live her life over and over again, differently each time. And now we’ll get to see her live them on the big screen, as Lionsgate announced they’ve picked up the rights to Life After Life, with Temple Hill Entertainment producing.
The studio has hired two screenwriters to adapt the 544 page novel. Poet and author Esta Spalding got her start writing for the quality Canadian police drama Da Vinci’s Inquest before moving onto the equally enjoyable CTV drama Bury the Lead. Most recently she’s served as a co-producer on FX’s murder drama The Bridge, having written last week’s episode “The Beast.” Semi Chellas, meanwhile, was the co-creator of Bury the Lead, which she also wrote for, and has written and served as a supervising producer on several episodes of Mad Men in the last year. Two Canadian women adapting an English novelist’s book with a female as its main character. There aren’t a lot of high-profile projects out there with that going for them.
Life After Life, published in April of this year by Little, Brown imprint Reagan Arthur Books, tells the unique story of the aforementioned Ursula Todd, who finds she can begin her life anew after death, realizing that even the smallest choices she makes have enormous impact on the path her life then takes. At times dark and witty, emotional and heartwarming, Atkinson’s novel brings a contemporary spin to the WWII time period, giving her main character the gamut of human existence to run through, meeting her end many times along the way. You can watch the intriguing ad for the book on Amazon here.
A New York Times bestseller, Life After Life has received acclaim from publications the world over, and was Amazon’s Book of the Month in April and will almost definitely end up on their “best of the year” lists. The novel has also been shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013.
So the obvious comparison here is going to be Harold Ramis’ comedic masterpiece Groundhog Day, which the Life After Life movie will almost definitely not top. Lionsgate and Temple Hill Entertainment teamed up in the past for the last film of The Twilight Saga when Lionsgate acquired Summit Entertainment. Temple Hill has been keeping itself busy with the series Revenge and the upcoming adaptation The Fault in Our Stars. It isn’t clear just yet whether this will be a lavish, CGI-heavy production or a quieter, clever take on the material. But I know which one I assume it will be.