Rex Pickett's Novel, Vertical, as a Movie
Kate West (Writer)
The author Rex Pickett is best known for his original novel, Sideways, the basis of the cult road movie by Alexander Payne. A more urbane take on the usual buddy movie, Sideways involves a lot of wine tasting (mostly pinot noir) and some philandering. The cult part comes from turning the Santa Ynez Valley into a vino mecca for film fans. If you're familiar with the movie starring Paul Giamatti, you'll be happy to know there is a live stage version right here in Los Angeles. Sideways the Play is as delightful as its Hollywood counterpart, this time powered more by the author's creative control rather than the film director's. Both are true to the book, only with slightly different viewpoints. But only one involves actual wine tasting (to find out more check out the Ruskin Group Theatre website).
Such is the power of this story that the allure of Miles and Jack, the two adventurers in the novel, proved too great for Pickett not to revisit. Vertical is part two of the first book, continuing with the angst-ridden writer, not too far a stretch from the way the author used to be. Miles is finally established and able to concentrate on someone besides himself, mainly his ailing mother. Helping her reconciles him with some of his past demons. Much more bittersweet than its prequel, Vertical presents a kind of sophisticated aging of the fine wine novel of Sideways.
As Miles matures, so should his story. Like the first book, Vertical involves another road trip, more mishaps and some learning along the way. This would make a great movie sequel as well. Pickett seems to be waiting for Payne to decide the outcome (Fox Searchlight Pictures owns the movie rights). If the actors agree, the studio would make a bundle, with a guaranteed audience of fans of the first film. It's a no-brainer. At the very least, it's creating a bit of a buzz. There is even a Facebook campaign about it.
Hollywood, I'm telling you, sometimes the people tell you exactly what they want to see and what they will pay for. You just have to listen.
Kate West Kate West has an extensive theatrical background and has been reviewing plays, musicals, one-acts, improv, comedy sketch and much more since 2003. www.katewestreviews.com
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