Jennifer Lawrence and director Gary Ross have teamed up again for the adaptation of debut author Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites, and Deadline reports that Lionsgate is now in negotiations to acquire the adaptation package. The adaptation sees the reunion of the “Hunger Games” star and director.
I haven’t read Burial Rites, which came out just last month, but the story sounds so intriguing. The novel tells the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, who is charged with the brutal murder of her master in 1830s Iceland. After her conviction for the murder, Agnes is sent to live with the farming family of Jón Jónsson while she awaits execution (by beheading!). During her stay there, the members of the farm family slowly begin to realize there is another side to the story.
What’s even more interesting is that Burial Rites is based on a true story. Agnes Magnúsdóttir and Friðrik Sigurðsson were convicted of the murders of Nathan Ketilsson and Pétur Jónsson, and were executed on January 12, 1830, the last cases of capital punishment in Iceland. Yes, they were beheaded.
The novel begins with these lines:
They said I must die. They said that I stole the breath from men, and now they must steal mine. I imagine, then, that we are all candle flames, greasy-bright, fluttering in the darkness and the howl of the wind, and in the stillness of the room I hear footsteps, awful coming footsteps, coming to blow me out and send my life away from me in a gray wreath of smoke. I will vanish into the air and the night. They will blow us all out, one by one, until it is only their own light by which they see themselves. Where will I be then?
Isn’t that so eloquent?
In an interview with the American Booksellers Association, author Hannah Kent said she first became enamoured of the story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir when she was an exchange student in Iceland ten years ago: “Several years later, I decided to research her story in an attempt to answer the ongoing questions I harbored. Who was Agnes? Was she as monstrous as the records seemed to suggest, or had her life’s course been warped by social, cultural, or political circumstances instead?”
Jennifer Lawrence will play Agnes, and Gary Ross will direct. Negotiations haven’t been concluded yet, but this sounds like a very promising book to movie adaptation!
Have you read Burial Rites? If you haven’t, does the storyline sound interesting? Do you think this would make a good movie? Tell us in the comments below!