Michel Gondry Adapting Boris Vian’s Froth On The Daydream

Boris Vian’s novel L’Ecume Des Jours is variously known as Froth on the Daydream, Mood Indigo, Froth on the Daze, or – in its previous, lates-60s cinematic incarnation, the more accurate The Spray of the Days. I’ve neither read the novel nor seen the movie, but I’ve just Googled it and spent all of two minutes looking at covers, reading blurbs and trying to convince myself I have some kind of idea of what it’s about.

But I don’t. Not really.

I have some incentive to read the novel now, seeing as Michel Gondry is embarking on a fresh cinematic rendition. One the one hand, reading the book will be research for any future coverage of Gondry’s film; on the other, I’ll just enjoy indulging in fantasies of how he might be translating the prose into pictures.

I won’t deny my tendency to choose the novels I read on the basis that they’re being adapted by filmmakers I love.

Allocine have reported that Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris are to star in the film, reuniting after Pot Luck and Russian Dolls. Presumably they won’t be bringing Kevin Bishop with them.

Tautou is going to be remembered as Amelie until the day she dies – which is not so bad a fate, really; and Duris recently had a decent hit in the UK in the lead role of Heartbreaker. They have significant star wattage in France, as you might expect, and this could help Gondry make his film with freedom.

Presumably this Vian adaptation is the same movie I was writing about in How Michel Gondry Convinced Audrey Tautou To Be In His Next Film. Here’s a Gondry quote from that article:

I have a little Bolex camera. You crank to rewind it, and you shoot film – 16 millimeter. I’m doing a lot of short film in different subject. When I wanted to convince an actress to be part of my next project, I did an animation of me asking her with flowers and things, and flying, and sky.

The flowers make a new kind of sense when you know what Vian’s novel entails. Here’s a description I found during that fruitful Googling:

The protagonist, Colin, is a wealthy young man with a resourceful and stylish man-servant, Nicolas, and a healthy supply of doublezoons, as well as a fantastic olfactory-musical invention: the pianocktail. With dizzying speed, Colin meets and weds Chloe in a grand ceremony. Generously, Colin bequeaths a quarter of his fortune to his friends Chick and Alise so they too may marry.

Happiness should await both couples but Chloe falls ill upon her honeymoon with a water lily in the lung, a painful and rare condition that can only be treated by surrounding her with flowers.

In fact, there was more but it quickly went into full-on spoiler territory, as well as bubbling over with curious, surrealist detail. There’s a lot of material here that seems most perfectly suited to Gondry’s tastes and skills, and I’m really itching to get stuck into the book.

The film should enter production next March, giving time to Gondry for his smaller-scale project, The We and the I to film this summer – though it has been some time since any reports about that picture broke the surface. Here’s hoping no news is good news.