Book Smart: Dreaming Up 5 CanCon Film Adaptations

With news that Sarah Polley is writing an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace for Netflix, directed by fellow Canuck Mary Harron, we fell into a rabbit hole of dream CanCon pairings. A Nina Dobrev rom-com, Ryan Gosling in the Marvel Universe, an experimental Xavier Dolan indie—because, really, who needs another Hollywood sequel?

sarah polley margaret atwood

Book: The Jane Austen Guide to Marriage by Kim Izzo
Starring: Nina Dobrev
Directed by: Jason Reitman
It can’t be a coincidence that our favourite Jason Reitman films, like Juno and Young Adult, follow women dealing with a seismic shift in their lives. Take loveable Vampire Diaries alum Nina Dobrev and a modern Jane Austen plot that deals with a recession-fraught search for “Mr. Right vs. Mr. Rich” in millennial times, and we think this has all the makings of a modern rom-com.

Book: Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland
Starring: Taylor Kitsch
Director: Paul Haggis
Dealing with themes of futility, tragedy, disconnection and a literal apocalypse, Paul Haggis would be the right choice to navigate the multiple storylines, while Taylor Kitsch is due for an wholly adult role (even though Riggins 4eva). Playing Richard, the grief-stricken and flailing young father, could certainly expand his repertoire and give him a much-needed win.

Book: Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald
Starring: Rachel McAdams
Directed by: Atom Egoyan
Ann-Marie MacDonald’s novel is a contemporary classic that explores the secret life of the Piper women over three generations. Egoyan is adept at working with uncomfortable and sometimes tragic subjects, while Rachel McAdams has the gravitas to anchor the film’s heavy moments.

Book: The Uncanny X-Men #120
Starring: Ryan Gosling
Director: James Cameron
Because even little-known Marvel characters created by British-born comic book writers deserve a chance at a spin-off. The Sasquatch is the super-strong, orange-haired beastly alter-ego of Dr. Walter Langkowski, a renowned physicist from the West Coast who is a member of the Canadian superhero team known as Alpha Flight (who knew?). Combine the typical backstory (some kind of government experiment), a big budget director and a bonafide movie star who could parlay his considerable indie cred into box office bucks, and we might have our very own superhero franchise in the works.

Book: How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
Starring: Ellen Page
Directed by: Xavier Dolan
Heti, Page and Dolan are three of the most ground-breaking Canadian artists working today—connecting them on a project would be a major CanCon moment. Dolan’s raw and intimate storytelling style and Page’s nuanced and authentic acting mixed with Heti’s free-form, provocative prose would make for an art house dream team.


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