Village Roadshow Pictures is betting on a Horse.
The book won the 2017 Man Booker International Prize for works in translation; Israeli publisher Ha’kibbutz Ha’meuchad published the original Hebrew version in 2014, and Alfred A. Knopf later published Jessica Cohen’s English translation in the United States.
The novel centers on the stand-up comedy routine of a man named Dov Greenstein in a small-town Israeli bar. He’s invited a friend to watch and, as Kirkus’ 2016 review put it, “He’s on the stage, it seems, to work out some personal issues and not a little bit of existential angst.” Along the way, the comic refers to Israeli historical events, and his set gets more serious as it goes: “as one audience member protests, ’People come here to have a good time, it’s the weekend, you wanna clear your head, and this guy gives us Yom Kippur.’”
Such a low-key, single-room drama could be a tour de force for a talented comedy actor—although no potential casting has been announced. However, it’s an oddly quiet choice for Village Roadshow, which is best-known for co-producing flashy blockbusters, such as The Matrix series, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Ready Player One, which, of course, was also based on a book (by Ernest Cline). It will be intriguing to see the producers try out new material on a much smaller stage.
David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.