Fans of American alternative comic book writer and illustrator Daniel Clowes know that the graphic novelist is no stranger to having his work adapted to the big screen. Perhaps best known for co-writing the adaptation of Ghost World in 2001 with Terry Zwigoff (Bad Santa), Clowes’ unmistakable blend of satirical insight and despairing depictions of individual characters in various states of inner turmoil has become a trademark of his thoroughly subversive take on the comic book medium.
Since working on his second feature film script for Zwigoff’s Art School Confidential in 2006 (which was based in part on the cartoonist’s comic of the same name), Clowes has largely taken to producing single volume graphic novels with succinct and self-contained narratives. However, his 2010 book Wilson is finally headed towards theatrical adaptation with director Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins) in tow with a release date already set.
Per an official press release, distributor Fox Searchlight Pictures is planning to set the theatrical release of Wilson for March 2017. Starring Woody Harrelson (Now You See Me 2) as the titular misanthrope, the film is set to follow Clowes’ original maladjusted anti-hero as he seeks to gain a newfound relationship with his estranged wife (Laura Dern), before finding out he has a daughter (Isabella Amara) that he has never met. Co-starring such inimitable talents such as Dern (Wild), Judy Greer (Jurassic World), and Cheryl Hines (Nine Lives) should serve to result in an adaptation worthy of its source material. Check out the official plot synopsis and first still for Wilson below:
Harrelson stars as Wilson, a lonely, neurotic, and hilariously honest middle-aged misanthrope who reunites with his estranged wife (Laura Dern) and gets a shot at happiness when he learns he has a teenage daughter (Isabella Amara) he has never met. In his uniquely outrageous and slightly twisted way, he sets out to connect with her.
After the book was initially optioned by celebrated filmmaker Alexander Payne (Nebraska), Johnson eventually came on board to direct Wilson himself. Payne will retain a producer credit on the finished film, and Clowes will provide the scripted adaptation of his original comic book, which should result in another faithful screen adaptation of his highly original and darkly satirical creative vision.
It’s been quite some time since viewers last saw a movie based on an original story by Clowes, and with any luck Wilson will be another unexpected indie hit for the American cartoonist. Johnson proved that he can handle sensitive human dramas in the past with his work on The Skeleton Twins, making his next feature film more likely to succeed than not (especially considering the wide array of individual talents in front of the camera who will serve to bring Clowes’ comic book panels to vibrant and thrilling life once more).
Wilson will see theatrical release in the U.S. on March 3, 2017.