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Niccol walks away from Stephenie Meyer’s “The Host”

By Kim Palacios

hollywoodnews.com: “The Host” will never measure up to “Twilight”, no matter who directs it, and particularly when the director who is chosen was second choice. Andrew Niccol of “Gattaca” and “The Truman Show” directorial fame was thought to be the shoo-in for the job since he worked closely with Meyer on the script, but recent reports say that Susannan White, not Niccol, will be taking the job.

Some say Niccol turned down the role because he is busy with plans to direct another upcoming sci-fi thriller, “Now”, but other factors suggest he may have simply abandoned Meyer’s project. For one, “Now” is reported to be in post-production already (which indicates that “The Host” could be feasible for Niccol to fit into his schedule). More importantly, “Now” is much farther ahead of “The Host” in terms of predictable success, with A-listers Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake supporting a cast headed by Olivia Wilde.

“The Host”, however, is all talk, no action. Despite a spring 2011 filming start and a noted 2011 release date, the film is still in casting with not a single player confirmed. Meyer is reported to have named Robert Redford, Ben and Casey Affleck, and Matt Damon as stars she would like to see in her film. Yet, this seems like a long shot given the lukewarm reception of her book.

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About Kim Palacios

Kim Palacios is a San Francisco Bay Area transplant whose epicurean tendencies are matched only by her wanderlust. While not covering food, wine, and luxury travel for her column on Examiner.com, she guest writes for Travel Writers Exchange and a number of other varied-topic blogs. She is quadrilingual and holds an M.B.A. in Finance (neither of which she uses much these days). While not mourning the death of free markets and grumbling about the tax treatment of Californians, she enjoys film, and all things Twilight.

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  • February 14, 2011 | Permalink |

    I think claiming the bestselling “The Host” is already a failure compared with the phenomenon Twilight is an unfair comparison. You are also speculating that Niccol simply lost interest in the Host project because it is doomed to failure, when it seems pretty clear at this point that he was simply much more interested in producing his own script all along, and has apparently been spending time pushing that project instead of honoring his commitment to “The Host.”

    There is enormous interest in the adult “Host,” among aging Twilight fans and other readers. Beyond the intriguing love triangle (square? pentagon?) in the book, there are several other planets to explore, each with its own parable to tell — think Avatar x 8. I think “The Host” film has the potential to be HUGE. The only real problem that the series has is that Stephenie Meyer is off producing Breaking Dawn instead of publishing much-needed sequels to the book.

  • February 14, 2011 | Permalink |

    Thanks for your comments! Though, my statement that “The Host” is underperforming Twilight isn’t just speculation–“The Host” hasn’t even come close to selling as many books as any single Twilight book, and, as I cited in the companion article, “Twilight” is still outperforming it in popularity by a huge margin (more than 5,000 spots!) on Amazon.com.

    The argument I’m making is that, whereas some authors only grow in popularity with each book or series, that hasn’t been the case with “The Host”. The film project is clearly struggling (HollywoodNews reported that it had begun casting nearly a year ago yet no stars have been announced). Add it all up, and it’s a good guess that Stephenie Meyer may have peaked with “Twilight”.

    To be honest, I think that “The Host” may be a better-written novel, but “Twilight” has the mass-market appeal of vampires and a plot that hooks you from the very beginning. The vampire theme paired with the archetypal characters in “Twilight” were a recipe for enormous success. “The Host” simply doesn’t have as much mass appeal, and mass appeal is the name of the game if you want your film to make money. It will be profitable, but not the phenomenon we saw with film renditions of her other books.

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