Hollywood is adapting Joan Didion's 1977 novel A Book of Common Prayer and Christina Hendricks is set to play one of the lead characters.
The novel is set in a fictitious Central American country Didion calls Boca Grande; Didion covered similar ground in reporting she did in El Salvador for the New York Review of Books, which was later published as the essay-length book Salvador. A Book of Common Prayer tells the stories of Grace Strasser-Mendana, an American anthropologist who married into one of Boca Grande's most powerful families and Charlotte Douglas, an American woman whose daughter disappears after joining a group of Marxist rebels. Hendricks is set to play Charlotte. Word & Film reports:
Charlotte is a classic Didion character, full of quixotic dreams and delusions that lead to her demise. Charlotte's willful obliviousness is counterbalanced by the novel's narrator, the astringently clear-eyed Grace Strasser-Mendana, an anthropologist, who observes Charlotte's self-deception with the same detached remove that has always hindered her ability to empathize with and understand the native people she had come to study.
The director is Campbell Scott, and the novel was adapted by screenwriters Joyce McKee and Rachel LeMin. Though Didion herself worked as a screenwriter throughout her journalistic career, her own novels and nonfiction have only once before been adapted for the screen — the film version of Play It As It Lays, which came out in 1972. It'll be interesting to see how Hendricks tackles the role of Charlotte. I'm pretty excited by this news — especially given we could stand to have more movies that center around female characters, plural.