No . . . just . . . No (or Initial Thoughts on Netflix’s announced adaptation of Atkin’s Wonderland)

According to Variety and Deadline stories today, another actor has been tapped to take on the role of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser: Mark Whalberg. He’ll be starring in Peter Berg’s movie for Netflix, an adaptation of Wonderland — the second novel Ace Atkins wrote about the Boston sleuth — as the potential first in a series.

I’m not Whalberg’s biggest fan, but given the right material, he’s good and he can pull of the physicality needed (and then some, but, whatever). And I have more trust in Peter Berg than most directors (Battleship notwithstanding). And the source material is great.

BUT. . .

From Deadline‘s story:

The movie will differ from the novel, in that it begins with Spenser emerging from a prison stretch, stripped of his private investigator license. Here, he gets pulled back into the underbelly of the Boston crime world when he uncovers the truth about a sensational murder and the twisted conspiracy behind it.

Stripped of his PI license after a prison stretch???? I know that adaptations have to make changes to the character, that’s the whole point of adapting. But this is striking at the core of the character. Spenser a felon? That’s a deal breaker. That makes almost all the changes in The Dresden Files series seem acceptable. It’s like making Edward a werewolf and Jacob a vampire. Or using an animated tiger in Life of Pi à la Bedknobs and Broomsticks. I’m having trouble here, okay? You can get the gist of what I’m saying.

So, I’m happy for the Parker Estate, Ace Atkins and anyone else who made some money off this. I’m happier yet for anyone who discovers Parker/Atkins/Spenser because of this.

But…nope. Just flat-out no. Count me out.*

*(which everyone knows is a giant lie, I’m totally going to watch this because I’m weak, I’m a sucker, and a Spenser-addict)

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4 thoughts on “No . . . just . . . No (or Initial Thoughts on Netflix’s announced adaptation of Atkin’s Wonderland)

  1. I’m not a Spenser connoisseur, so I don’t feel the white-hot rage you feel. However, this sounds like he was framed and shoved into prison by corrupt officials – which is as good a thing as any to get the audience on his side.

    Is there any more information on the plot? Oh, I should click the link to the Deadline story? Bah! Too much trouble! Just tell me!

    P.S. – Wahlberg does little for me. He’s buff, and he has an intense stare – and don’t call him Marky Mark. He was OK in the 10 minutes I saw of that one Transformers movie, I suppose….

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  2. In 1974, while wandering the stacks of my local library, I came across “The Godwulf Manuscript,” the first Spenser novel. I was hooked almost immediately. In fact, the best review I’ve had of my detective novel “Hard Court” was when someone said JB, my main character, reminded him of Spenser. As for the new Netflix series . . . no, definitely not. There are lots of reasons, but let’s just leave it at this: Mark Whalberg may be a good actor, but the guy is 5’8″ (and that’s probably in lifts). This whole idea is ridiculous. HC. I’m with you. Count me out, too. (My wife and I were lucky enough to hear Parker speak on one of his book tours back in the early 80s. That was a truly fun night!)

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