By Sarah Sluis
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close has "prestige Oscar picture" written all over it. Most of the creative team has multiple Oscar nominations under their belt, with a couple wins. That includes director Stephen Daldry (The Reader, three nominations), producer Scott Rudin (four nominations with one win), and screenwriter Eric Roth (four nominations with one win for Forrest Gump). The source material, a novel by literary wunderkind Jonathan Safran Foer, has received numerous accolades. Anyone who's into indie, arty films has probably also heard of the book.
Yet the trailer for the movie, which is set for release on Christmas, goes for mainstream audiences, not art-seeking ones. Given the touching subject matter, it's not too much of a surprise. This is a story about a boy mourning his father, who he lost on 9/11. He finds a key in his father's closet and goes on a search for the lock. The book was known for its innovative writing style, use of graphics, photographs, and textual play, but all that subtlety doesn't appear in the trailer. Instead, it goes for tears set to a U2 soundtrack. I wouldn't be surprised if people are heard sniffling after the trailer.
There could be an explanation for the mainstream feel of the trailer. The movie is targeting a wide release come January and certainly Paramount wants as many people as possible to see it. Perhaps they decided to go for the heartfelt bits that would most appeal to audiences unfamiliar with the text, and trust that fans of Foer's book would turn out anyway. Or the movie has been diluted from the book. As someone who isn't the biggest fan of Foer's writing style, I'd rather see the movie. If Daldry ends up with the same comedy-drama tone of his 2000 film Billy Elliot, I will be thrilled--and I won't call it schmaltzy.