"The Flamingo Thief" Takes Flight

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July 17th, 2012

"The Flamingo Thief" Takes Flight

-- Author Susan Trott released her book, "The Flamingo Thief," in 2010, and now Hollywood is ready to make a movie adaptation. The story centers on Tim Forester, a rich man who saw his son die tragically. After visiting his extended family, he steals his niece's tiny flamingo statue. This theft sets off a rush of emotions, and he feels things that he hasn't felt since his son's death. He begins stealing more of the birds, and as his behavior changes and his emotions intensify, he loses everyone and everything around him, including his wife. He finds himself being shot several times, he risks losing his business, and he faces charges of grand theft.

Despite the negative consequences, he just can't stop stealing. Every time he walks away with a new flamingo, he feels his heart racing; nothing else makes him feel alive in that way. As the novel progresses, readers find themselves caught up in his story and wondering what will happen to him in the end.

Since plans for a film were announced, fans of the novel have eagerly awaited news from Hollywood about the casting. Bradley Cooper ("Limitless") found his name frequently added to the list of potential stars, but it eventually came down to former Saturday Night Live funnyman Will Ferrell.

While "The Flamingo Thief" has its share of funny moments, it also has a dark undercurrent. Early reports led some fans to wonder if those moments will even appear in the movie. Screenwriter Michael LeSiuer is signed on as writer of the movie. He has previously only worked on comedies like "The Maiden Heist" and "You, Me, and Dupree." Red Hour will take over production of the movie, and comic actor Ben Stiller ("Night at the Museum") will serve as one of the producers.

Fans shouldn't worry though, because director Craig Gillespie is signed on as director of the movie. Gillespie most recently directed the remake of the 1980's horror/comedy "Fright Night," but he's best known as director of "Lars and the Real Girl."

"Lars and the Real Girl" centered on an odd young man named Lars (Ryan Gosling, "The Notebook"), who had problems forming relationships with others. He did not have the same problem when it came to an inflatable doll, which he named Bianca. After carrying her with him to family dinners and treating her like a real girlfriend, his family grew concerned and started helping him find other ways to cope with his awkwardness. If "The Flamingo Thief" is anything like that movie, fans of the book will not be disappointed.

In the book, Tim is a millionaire who owns a business called Juice King. Some of the early screenplays had Tim working as a wealthy lawyer, though no one is sure whether this will stay in the finished movie. Early drafts also had Tim turning to theft because his wife left him, which does not follow the same plot as the book. LeSieur has worked on the screenplay since as early as 2010, and the movie reached the studios in 2011. Several film journalists picked the script as one of the most surprising unproduced scripts of the year. Now that the movie has a script, star, and director attached, it's clear that this one is heading for theaters.

The only problem is Ferrell. Ferrell starred in two previous movies that combined dramatic and comedic elements: "Stranger Than Fiction" and "Everything Must Go." These movies received mixed reviews and didn't do well at the box office. Some reviewers claimed that fans wanted to see Ferrell in straight comedic roles, but even his last few comedies did not do well in theaters. His recent movie, "Casa de Mi Padre," grossed less than $6 million at the box office and received generally unfavorable reviews.

The question becomes: can Ferrell handle this role? It would seem like he thinks he can since he signed the contract in February. The studio plans a 2013 release date, but this depends on the actor's busy schedule. He starts shooting "Anchorman: The Legend Continues" in the next few months, and he has plans to start work on "Three Mississippi" following that. The earliest that he can start shooting "The Flamingo Thief" is fall/winter of 2012, but even if he cannot step on the set until early 2013, the movie can still get to theaters before the end of that year. The movie will also need to wait for Gillespie, who should soon begin work on "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies."

While fans might feel a little concerned about the end result, there's no doubt that they will eagerly be waiting in line when "The Flamingo Thief" flies into theaters next year.