Granny Freeze and The Family Fang
Have you read Kevin Wilson’s The Family Fang? I finished it a few weeks ago. It is hilariously imagined, hysterical in parts, and uncomfortably disturbing throughout: the Fangs are already a reality; you can see it on TV. And worse still, though perhaps that’s the point, people can’t recognise themselves in the story.
The Family Fang was on its way to becoming my favourite, favourite book of 2011 until the very end. No doubt, it’s still a strong recommendation and you should definitely live there for a while, but the conclusion left me a little...underwhelmed. I just didn’t buy it. Then I went back to ask myself if my not buying it has less to do with the author’s decision than it does with the statement above: if ultimately it’s because I can’t recognise myself in the story either. In which case, well, Wilson is even more terribly clever that I thought. (And it’s his first book!) But I haven’t decided if that’s where I want to leave it. Will do a proper review in a few weeks once you’ve had a chance to check it out.
A brief synopsis: Caleb and Camille Fang are performances artists, like what James Franco wants to be if he wasn’t so full of sh-t. The Fangs have two children, Annie and Buster and growing up, Annie and Buster were the leading characters of their parents’ masterpieces. For example (and this is not an actual incident in the book), Caleb hit up a mall and tried to prostitute their children and unsuspecting citizens stepped in to rescue the kids thus resulting in a giant brawl and the police were called and Camille videotaped it in a corner somewhere. Then they all ran away and reviewed their creation. And Caleb and Camille sent it off to some galleries and it only added to how celebrated they were in their performance artist community. And Annie and Buster, they were trained to behave like this on a regular basis.
F-cked up right? And, therefore, a great premise for a film. Which is why Nicole Kidman has acquired the rights to the novel. She will produce and star. You know, I don’t hate the idea of Nicole Kidman as Camille Fang. Not at all. Camille is perhaps the most complicated character of the lot. And, if done well, perhaps the most controversial. Because she is a mother. And a wife. And an artist. And the choices and sacrifices she makes between three...well, there’s a lot to judge here, there’s a lot to fight about too.
Nicole is clearly looking for her next nomination after Rabbit Hole. Great. Developing your own quality project is great. We don’t have to talk about why she has to develop her own material (since it’s so hard to cast her face now that that it doesn’t move), just that she’s actively making those good choices. Which is why it’s even more frustrating when she also actively makes the bad ones. Like Trespass.