I’m about to make a controversial statement about Oscar-nominated writer Emily V. Gordon: I was worried she was being overlooked this Oscar season. 

I know it’s preposterous, given that The Big Sick is literally about her, but Kumail  Nanjiani has more facial recognition and ‘Emily’ is in a coma for half the movie. It’s what caused him to tweet things like this: 

Even though Kumail and Emily have made a point of promoting the movie together—because they wrote it together—I’m still sure there are people somewhere who think Nanjiani is married to Zoe Kazan. Even though there’s evidence like this to the contrary, you know how people are.

So I was thrilled yesterday to read that she’s been tapped to adapt The Nest, for a number of reasons. First off, that was a big New York Times bestselling book, and so this is an appropriate assignment for an Oscar-nominated screenwriter. Gordon has written on The Carmichael Show and Crashing, but this gig – which was almost certainly in the works before the nominations were announced Tuesday – is more fitting of someone who was able to take a ‘tiny’ movie through all the necessary hurdles to appeal to audiences the way it did now. 


I’m also happy because The Nest, just like The Big Sick, is fundamentally a ‘small’ story. That is, it’s about nuance and family dynamics and history, and about different perspectives on the same event. This is not always the kind of story that is super-welcome in Hollywood… unless it is. That is, execs are always going to be interested in stories about earthquakes, kidnappings, whatever – because they can ‘see’ them. They know what those films are going to look like, the moments of realization of the impending disaster, the moment the worst possible thing actually comes to pass, the brave recovery.  

It takes more imagination to see how a ‘small’ story will make it to the big screen—and it takes a lot of trust in the storyteller. This is a big vote of confidence in Emily V Gordon, and evidence that The Big Sick is working for her track record and visibility as well as Kumail’s. 

Plus there’s the added bonus of being excited this movie’s being made. I didn’t obsess over The Nest but I think about it a lot, and I think in addition to a compelling script, it’s going to be real achievement and creativity in casting that’s going to make this work. I suspect they’ll ask Jason Bateman, since, post-Arrested Jason Bateman is asked to do anything involving having one or many siblings… but to me he’s not as conniving (or as charming, don’t kill me) as Leo needs to be. Now, give a role like that to Jason Ritter, who’s been working forever but isn’t seen as a headliner, and you could have a really interesting group. 

I also think the neurotic Melody is going to be interesting. It’s the kind of role that would once have gone to Laura Linney, but the Plumb siblings are supposed to skew younger than her, so the field is kind of wide open… is that an Alison Brie role, maybe? A Trudy Campbell throwback? 

It’s a long way from script to screen, obviously, but I’ve rarely read a book I could so easily picture and thought “yeah, this is in good hands”. It’s a nice change.