We can't help it. When book reps go to the movies we inevitably look at the books that the characters are reading on the screen. And sometimes the reading material will provide deep insight into the character's mindset.
And so it was that during a screening of Michael Winterbottom's new film Genova at the Toronto Film Festival (starring Colin Firth), I was happy to note that two of the books his character is reading happen to come from two of my favourite small presses - NYRB Books and The Other Press. The film is about a father (played by Firth) who moves his two daughters to Genova after the death of their mother in a car accident and follows the family as they try to cope with their grief. It's an uneasy, disturbing film, full of old, dark and narrow side streets contrasting with the cacophony of metallic modern day traffic and both landscapes are equally menacing. It certainly keeps the viewer on edge. Firth's character is a university professor and he's seen twice reading on a couch while waiting for his elder daughter to get home from her partying. Not surprisingly, he's reading Italian literature - Alberto Moravia's Conjugal Love and Leonardo Sciascia's The Day of the Owl. Now, I know, I know - this is what the character is reading, not the actor. However, I can definitely picture Firth picking up his props after the shoot and thinking, hmmm, this looks interesting, and reading the books between takes. Let's face it - part of what makes Firth so sexy is the intelligence that oozes out of every pore of his acting being. Of course he's a reader! And if you needed any additional confirmation, thanks to Oprah, you can take a tiny peek into his reading preferences. One of the most interesting parts of her website is her feature "Books that made a difference" where many of her guests not only list books they love, but write about why.
You can see Colin's list here. And Colin, anytime you want to have a discussion about Faulkner - just call me!
Not surprisingly there are classics and literature in translation among the contemporary novels. As is the case with a bunch of other actors who I admire enormously - again for the intelligence they bring to their acting, their choice of film projects and their incredible talent. So it's fun to take a peek at their bookshelves - just click on their names to see their reading recommendations.