Tracey Garvis-Graves’ best-seller On the Island sounds like Cast Away and Lost mixed with Fifty Shades of Grey. That explains why MGM emerged victorious in a bidding battle to grab the rights to convert the passionate story into a feature-length film.
What’s it about? There are two main characters in Garvis-Graves’ narrative: Anna Emerson, an English teacher who agrees to tutor T.J., a teenage cancer patient, at the family’s rental property in the Maldives. It sounds like a challenge, but the paradise setting is too tempting for Anna to pass on. However, on the way to the Maldives, the pilot of the small plane carrying Anna and T.J. has a heart attack, stranding the two in the Indian Ocean.
Variety says that Temple Hill Productions, the team behind the Twilight series, is in negotiations with MGM to split the cost. It sounds like it could be a complicated shoot. As time stretches by and the two main characters fight to survive, there’s a romantic angle that develops, creating obvious tensions on the island (hence the title). These could be outstanding roles for a talented young actor and a proven actress, if they’re not too afraid to get a little dirty – so to speak – in the name of art.
At the same time, comparison are going to be made to Tom Hanks’ gut-wrenching internal performance in Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away, which are some mighty shoes to fill.
Casting will be crucial for On the Island, as will finding the right director to handle the nuances of the material. We’ll keep you posted as the process movies along, but this could be a major acquisition for MGM as the project comes together.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.