Clippings

Mirrormask
Box Office Mojo has posted the estimated takes from this week’s box office: Mirrormask, playing on 18 screens, has brought in an estimated gross of $127,000, or an average of around $7000 per screen for the weekend. Actual grosses will be posted Monday.

From the September 30th Salt Lake Tribune:

“I wanted to build a city and populate it with my kind of characters,” illustrator-turned-filmmaker Dave McKean said of his first movie, MirrorMask.

McKean developed the story of a teen girl caught in a bizarre fantasy world with Neil Gaiman, with whom he has collaborated on graphic novels and children’s books (Gaiman is the writer, McKean the artist). Producer Lisa Henson brought the pair back together, pitching the idea for a fantasy similar to Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.

The basic story does echo Labyrinth, McKean said, but both films follow the tradition of such classics as Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.

“Neil very much liked the idea of setting up a very, very simple spine of a story that you know,” McKean said. “It’s the kind of story that this young girl would regress into. . . . At this particular point in her life, at this age, she’s on the balance of being a child or a woman — and also on the balance between going off the rails and becoming a pretty bad kid, or rising to the challenge of growing up and sorting her life out. In this sort of real crossroads, she could fall either way.”

With an art-house budget of $4 million, McKean set up a small crew of computer animators in London to create visions that match his unique illustrations.

“I’ve always wondered why CG work is often slavishly realistic, when it really can be anything at all,” McKean said. “We’re not dealing with the real world. We’re dealing with a girl’s imagination, a girl’s anxiety in a completely fabricated film. We can do anything.”
— Sean P. Means

A trio of Mirrormask related interviews with Neil have appeared in the last few days:

  • Robert Newton’s interview in Cinematical was posted on September 30th; Cinematical also has a review.
  • Tom Lanham’s interview appeared in the September 29th Oakland Tribune
  • Brian Truitt’s interview appeared in the the September 29th Washington DC Examiner.
  • Finally, there is a Mirrormask discussion group on Livejournal (thanks, Batwrangler!)


    Anansi Boys

    Not only is Anansi Boys at the top of the New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list, it’s also at #1 on the Publishers Weekly list of hardcover fiction, at #3 on the Washington Post hardcover fiction list, at #3 on the Booksense (American Booksellers Association) hardcover fiction list, #4 on the Wall Street Journal fiction list, and #11 on the USAToday list combining fiction and non-fiction.

    From the October 2005 Booksense Picks

    ANANSI BOYS: A Novel, by Neil Gaiman (Morrow, $26.95, 006051518X)

    “A father’s funeral is going to be tough, no doubt about it. Discovering that you have a brother you didn’t know about and, by the way, that your father is one of the Old Gods would throw anyone’s life more than a little out of kilter. No one can blend ancient mythology with contemporary society like Gaiman, and Anansi Boys is one of the most entertaining reads of the year.”
    –Russ Harvey, Cody’s Books, Berkeley, CA

    Locus Online has included Anansi Boys in its new books monitor, which includes book information and features, as well as links to reviews. It will be Gary K. Wolfe’s lead review for the November issue of the Locus magazine, and an excerpt from the interview is included with the monitor summary.

    Speaking of which, there has been a review of Anansi Boys online at Emerald City since August that hasn’t been linked to via here previously; as well as an August review by Rick Kleffel in the Agony Column.

    From the September 27th SciFi Wire:

    Neil Gaiman, author of the fantastical novel Anansi Boys, told SCI FI Wire that the book allowed him to return to the kind of comedic writing he hasn’t done since he co-wrote Good Omens with Terry Pratchett in 1990.

    “I got to write my funny novel,” Gaiman said in an interview. “I wanted to write a funny one ever since Good Omens. It got to the point where everyone was convinced that Good Omens was me writing a very serious book, with Terry Pratchett dancing along behind me, scattering jokes like little flowers. So I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to write a funny novel.’ And it is.”

    Although the character of Anansi, based on a trickster spider-god from West African folklore, made a memorable appearance in Gaiman’s previous novel, American Gods, he said that the new book has only a tangential relationship to the last one. “I had the idea for Anansi Boys in about 1996,” he said. “And had these characters floating around in my head, but wasn’t quite sure whether it was a film or a TV series or a book, or what it was. So I borrowed the character for American Gods. Also, because I knew that he was going to die on page one of Anansi Boys, which really doesn’t give much away, since it’s page one.”

    The story centers on a talent agent named Fat Charlie Nancy, who travels from London to Florida after his estranged father’s death and discovers that he was in reality the god Anansi. He also learns that he has a living brother, Spider, who has inherited their father’s gifts and love of mischief.

    “People say, ‘Is it a sequel to American Gods?'” Gaiman said. ‘And I have to say, ‘No, it’s not.’ … It’s a comic novel that’s also a thriller and also a ghost story and also horror. I tried to put everything in there. And it’s also the kind of novel that makes people feel good at the end. American Gods did a lot of things, but that wasn’t one of them.”

    Finally, the Anansi Boys signings are noted in Oregonian (7:30 p.m. Monday at First Congregational Church, 1126 S.W. Park Ave., Portland, OR 503-228-4651) and the Vancouver Sun (Vancouver
    International Writers & Readers Festival. Magee Secondary School, 6360 Maple, Oct. 6, 7 pm, $15/13, 604 280 3311, 604-681-6330.)