Chuck Klosterman on the Big Screen and Other Non-Fiction Classics We’d Like to See as Movies


When we heard that Chuck Klosterman’s road-trip memoir Killing Yourself To Live would be coming to the big screen soon, we were careful not to get too excited. Sure, some of our favorite journalist narratives have been successfully adapted into masterpieces, like Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief, which became Adaptation, or even Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. But others, like this year’s How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, get Hollywood-ized with characters that never existed and none of the first-person drivel we liked about them in the first place.

Which brings us back to Klosterman — he’s no Hunter S. Tompson, but his account of his magical music mystery tour is complicated and dark, and we’d hate to see it transformed into a crappy buddy-road-trip comedy.

After the jump, we make casting suggestions for Killing Yourself to Live and suggest other non-fiction classics we’d like to see turned into good movies.

It’s the perfect time to bring Joan Didion’s Political Fictions to a theater near you. We love everything she’s written, but this collection in particular has a more solid plot structure surrounding the 1988 presidential campaign that would make Didion’s “outsider” commentary easy to bring in as the driving narrative.

A more recent female essayist, Sloane Crosley, should adapt her own collection, I Was Told There’d Be Cake. The stories are hilarious and perfectly contemporary, and if she wrote the screenplay herself, the movie would be a surefire hit among the Sex and the City crowd and the “I’m too cool for Sex and the City” crowd. If Jessica Alba learned to act, she could play Crosley and even draw in all those girls’ boyfriends.

We love George Saunders’ short stories, but his non-fiction is usually just as incredible. His account of visiting the Nepalese “Buddha Boy” and investigating whether or not his not drinking, eating, or moving for months was a hoax, is fascinating. Perhaps now that Danny Boyle is enamored by India, he could take on this project–we would trust it in his hands.

As for Killing Yourself to Live, we think a slightly beefed-up Paul Dano could play the neurotic midwesterner full of insights and broken hearts really well. And please, don’t include any cheesy flashbacks to Jeff Buckley drowning or that fire at the Great White concert. We beg you.

Is there a non-fiction classic you’d like to see as a movie soon? Have any other casting suggestions for Chuck Klosterman? Let us know.