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Skyfall's Sam Mendes was once in talks to adapt My Favorite Thing is Monsters

The 1917 director's oeuvre shows that he's interested in form, so maybe he'd be a good choice

Cropped cover for My Favorite Thing is Monsters
Image credit: Fantagraphics

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Could a film adaptation of Emil Ferris' graphic novel My Favorite Thing is Monsters work? Sony seems to think so, having nabbed film rights at auction back in 2017. Only a month after Sony acquired the rights to adapting the graphic novel, it was reported that Sam Mendes, probably best known as director of American Beauty, Skyfall, and 1917, was in early talks to direct.

Since then, there's been no news on the project or its director (as often happens in the film world), however, as we near the long-awaited release of My Favorite Thing is Monsters Book 2, we have been talking in the Popverse office about how a MFTIM movie might work. Here are our thoughts.

A My Favorite Thing is Monsters movie must be form first

Scanned two page layout for My Favorite Thing is Monsters
Image credit: Fantagraphics

The true triumph of My Favorite Thing is Monsters is its experiment with form. The book weaves in an out of illustration, comics, and the central format of a child's journal - all rendered in Ferris' painstaking style of ballpoint pen art. Any movie adaptation would similarly need to be form-first, whether that approach means animation in the style of Ferris' art in the way that the Persepolis film mimicked Marjane Satrapi's art or finding another way to make the form a major part of how the story is told.

Sam Mendes could be a good fit for My Favorite Thing is Monsters

Cropped page from My Favorite Thing is Monsters
Image credit: Fantagraphics

Sam Mendes is a director who is very interested in form. And you don't have to just look at his form-defying one-shot style war movie 1917 to see that. In fact, perhaps the best examples form Sam Mendes' resume comes from his direction of comes from theater and his interest in form can be seen there too, especially in the three-man play The Lehman Trilogy, which follows the Lehman family from the moment they arrive in the United States to the day the Lehman Brothers bank closes. Three actors play every role on a spinning set that resembles a windowed office and uses projection as well as cardboard file boxes to stretch the limits at how one set can transform over time.

What Sam Mendes has shown me with The Lehman Trilogy (and with his direction of Skyfall and 1917) is that he is a storyteller who deeply thinks about how a story is told and is interested in experimenting with the elements that surround and frame story. In other words, he's not the kind of director to grab a graphic novel and go straight to the plot, discarding the way that said plot is delivered. In fact, he may be one of the only Hollywood directors I can think of right now who might actually consider how stories are told differently through illustration rather than moving image, which makes him an ideal choice to adapt a book like My Favorite Thing is Monsters.

My Favorite Thing is Monsters Book 2 is slated for release in May.

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About the Author
Tiffany Babb avatar

Tiffany Babb

Deputy Editor

Tiffany Babb is Popverse's deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast. Tiffany likes stories that understand genre conventions (whether they play into them or against them), and she cries very easily at the movies— but rarely at the moments that are meant to be tearjerkers.