A project at MGM that isn’t a remake, reboot, rehash, or sequel? We’re seeing progress, ladies and gentlemen, as Variety reports that the studio and Temple Hill Productions — one of the companies behind Twilight — are about to collaborate through On the Island, a screen adaptation* of Tracey Garvis-Graves‘ best-selling romance novel.
Those who’ve encountered any desert island stories — which is to say, just about all of us — will recognize a couple of influences in the basic premise, wherein a woman and her younger compatriot spend years in isolation after their plane crashes over the ocean. Over said years, a platonic, professional relationship morphs into one with romantic tinges, longing, debilitating diseases, dangers of the natural world, and so on.
Not a terrible set-up for dramatic tension, even if it, yes, sounds a little familiar. But, really, anyone with a basic grasp on what constitutes good narrative knows, in turn, that it’s all about what you put on the page, not the jacket (I just made that up and, frankly, like it); a plethora of positive Amazon reviews are nice, too. With a proper team at the helm, that acclaim has a chance to carry from one medium to another.
Here’s Amazon’s summary of the plot:
“When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family’s summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.
T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He’s almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn’t bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family – and a stack of overdue assignments – instead of his friends.
Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.’s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.’s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.”
Have you read On the Island? Is there a good film to be found in the material?
*Alright, not completely original, but give them some points for avoiding a Gremlins reboot or something.