Please no. Or how can I say it differently? No! Maybe ... hmmm ... NO! I've long been pained by the news that Brian De Palma is directing an adaptation one of my all-time favorite novels -- James Ellroy's "The Black Dahlia" – with an absurdly inappropriate cast of Mark (sigh) Wahlburg, Josh (Oy!) Hartnett and Scarlett (I-love-her-but-not-in-this) Johannson, but at least I hold out some hope that the stylish and interesting De Palma with some sense of storytelling, the guy who made Carrie, Body Double, The Untouchables and Casualties of War – might show up rather than the purely hack parody of himself De Palma of Mission to Mars, Snake Eyes and Femme Fatale.
But I have absolutely no such hope that the visually interesting but story-impaired Sonnenfeld is anywhere near being capable of adapting the incredibly complex and oblique narrative that is "White Noise" – a book I love – into a satisfying film. I fear way too much Men in Black and Addams Family influence -- particularly visually -- popping in to create an absolute mess of a film.
I'm not trying to blindly criticize Sonnenfeld. I've enjoyed his films, and he has a wonderful eye which is why he was such a fantastic DP. With Get Shorty, he even came dangerously close to actually putting storytelling over style. The Addams Family and Men in Black were both fun, but their sequels each showed the limits of Sonnenfeld's vision. Meanwhile, Wild Wild West and Big Trouble were simply disasters, and now he's going to tackle DeLillo?
I'd love to see a talented, innovative filmmaker tackle this novel and succeed, much as I would have preferred a David Fincher Black Dahlia to the coming De Palma one. But for the time being at least, that hope seems to be an impossibility, and I fear a filmed "White Noise" will be just that and nothing more.