DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “I Kill Giants” by Joe Kelly and J. M. Ken Niimura

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” column, you’ll also find some thoughts from the industry’s top comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J. M. Ken Niimura

The Premise: A young girl’s fantasy world filled with pixies and elves becomes intertwined with her real-life struggles as she copes with problems at home, difficulties at school, and the ever-present threat of giants. Fortunately, she’s got a magic hammer with the power to smite even the biggest creatures — but what about her other problems?

The Pitch: Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura’s 2008 series found itself on quite a few “Best Of” lists after it was published in collected form the following year, and it’s easy to see how the connection it found with readers could translate to the screen.

The story follows Barbara Thorson, a clever fifth grader who sees faeries and goblins around every corner, and claims to have made a career out of hunting giants. To her, this fantasy world is not just real — it’s her burden to shoulder as the only person capable of seeing the magical things happening around her, her family, and her friends.

And while it’s easy to dismiss her visions as the stuff of an overactive imagination, Kelly and Niimura leave some question as to which is more real: the homework and bullies, or the gnomes and dragons.

In many ways, I Kill Giants manages to blend the fantastic elements of a Guillermo Del Toro or Peter Jackson tale with a more grounded, emotional, coming-of-age story. The scale of the fantasy elements is impressive, with everything from tiny pixies to massive, world-shaking titans wandering in and out of Barbara’s daily life.

However, it’s these fantastic elements, while entertaining in themselves, that often serve to soften the more personal, tragic elements of the narrative.

Through it all, Barbara remains a character readers can identify with despite her battles with fantastic creatures, and it’s not too hard to see the potential for a great performance out of some young actress playing the giant-killing hero. Ample opportunities for effects-driven set pieces and intense emotional moments make this a wide-ranging opportunity for studios, actors, and audiences alike to produce a family-friendly blockbuster.

Great stories are often built around a character’s journey, whether physical or emotional, and the path Barbara follows in I Kill Giants is the sort that hooks you early on and carries you along until the very end, eager to discover the next obstacle she encounters and how she’ll overcome it. And like many great stories, it leaves much to the imagination regarding what’s real and what is simply a product of its character’s perspective, constantly seeding the narrative with hints and misdirection until the time is right for the big reveal.

In the hands of the right filmmaker, I Kill Giants is a project that could mesh the best elements of fantasy with a compelling, grounded drama, and tell a story that everyone of all ages can connect with in some way.

The Closing Argument: Probably the best way to conceive of an “I Kill Giants” movie is to imagine something thematically similar to the 2009 adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are,” except in this case, much of the narrative unfolds in the real world. Rather than interpreting real-world issues through fantasy (as was done in “Where the Wild Things Are”), an adaptation of I Kill Giants would show the audience its fantasy elements through a real-world lens.

What’s important, however, is that any adaptation of I Kill Giants prioritizes Barbara’s emotional journey over the eye-catching fantastic elements of her life. With the right person behind the camera, there’s a great opportunity here to tell a touching story that both tugs at the heart and offers quite a bit of eye candy.


Would “I Kill Giants” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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