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2003-11-24 10:39 AM
Book Beloved by Man Who Read Graphic-Novelization of Movie
Seattle, WA – Daniel Stevens, avid comic book reader, reportedly loves the graphic novel “Under the Tuscan Sun”, which is based on the musical version, which is based on the television series, which is based on the novelization, which is based on the film, which is based on the novel of the same name.
“I’d heard that this was some kind of art film or chick flick, and when I saw it between Spinecrusher and the gold-foil X-Treme edition of Eviscerator Unleashed, I thought it had been misshelved,” Stevens reported to his friends and fellow comic readers Monday. “But man, they have some kickass stuff in this story!”
The original novel, written by Frances Mayes, involves a woman who moves to Tuscany with her husband, buys a villa, and rediscovers the beauty of life. In the film version, starring Diane Lane, writer and director Audrey Wells removed the husband via a bitter divorce, added a romantic story arc, and introduced several new characters to round out the setting and provide more audience appeal.
The novelization of the movie, written by Kevin J. Anderson, added more depth to the story by providing long sections from the viewpoints of characters not in the original book, and added an intriguing new twist to the story by having the villa Frances purchases and renovates actually be built on the ground once occupied by an old Roman cathedral that may have been haunted. The UPN series, cancelled last season, took its inspiration from the novelization, building suspense and weekly intrigue by focusing on the ghosts. Each week, a different ghost returns to the villa, and Frances, dealing with her husband’s murder by the Sicilian mafia, must help them achieve closure while trying to solve her husband’s murder and gain closure in her own life.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical of the same name removed most of the extraneous characters and focused on the love story between Frances and one of the ghosts, Armando, a knight from the fourteenth century who had given his life to save a woman who looks exactly like Frances, and who wielded a mystical talisman that Frances received when she bought the villa. The mafia, who (in a new twist from the series) had ties to the haunted cathedral, serve as the main villains in the musical.
“This thing was freakin’ awesome!” Stevens reported to his friends. “The part is where Frances gets the Soulbarb – that’s this mystical pendant that turns into a weapon, and it can only be wielded by Frances -- and it grows into this scarlet barbed-wire armor around her in the middle of the fight with the mob guys on the roof of the villa, and she jumps onto this helicopter rope and, like, sends this viney barbed thing, like, up the rope, and impales the android pilot, and the whole thing explodes… plus, she’s in love with this dead dude who throws bolts of ectoplasmic energy, and the Satanic cathedral totally kicks ass. It’s weird that they put it in Tuscany, instead of someplace that I recognize, but I heard that they’re putting out a movie next year, and they’re gonna move it to Vancouver to get it to film under budget.”
Stevens is looking forward to reading Frances Mayes’ other works, including “Bella Tuscany” and “In Tuscany”, which Stevens describes as “Taking place in the same universe as the main story,” and “Swan”, an original novel. “That Mayes, man, she’s got some effed-up stuff going on in her head to come up with all this. This is one sick chick with some violence issues and stuff. Her fight scenes kick ass. I just wish the artists would spend more time on the fighting and not insist on big wasted pages showing the Tuscan farmland and all that crap. Still, I can’t wait to see what hyperviolent gothic brain-smash she comes up with next!”
Mayes was unavailable for comment as of press time.
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