'Gambit' Director Michael Hoffman Getting Sappy with 'Best of Me'

September 27, 2012

Best of Me

After the disappointment that was The Lucky One, I'm starting to wonder whether or not audiences are getting sick of Nicholas Sparks' books heading to the big screen or if it's just me. Having thoroughly enjoyed The Notebook, but not many of the other adaptations, one would think that even his fans have to begin to tire of the sappy romance at some point. We'll get another chance to test this theory as Deadline reports Warner Bros. is in talks with The Last Station director Michael Hoffman to helm The Best of Me, based on Sparks' best-selling book of the same name, which will be adapted by The Lucky One writer Will Fetters.

The novel was acquired by the studio before it was even published, and Sparks actually pitched the idea to Warner Bros. executives before he even wrote the book. Here's a more detailed synopsis of the story:

In the spring of 1984, high school students Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole fell deeply, irrevocably in love. Though they were from opposite sides of the tracks, their love for one another seemed to defy the realities of life in the small town of Oriental, North Carolina. But as the summer of their senior year came to a close, unforeseen events would tear the young couple apart, setting them on radically divergent paths.

Now, twenty-five years later, Amanda and Dawson are summoned back to Oriental for the funeral of Tuck Hostetler, the mentor who once gave shelter to their high school romance. Neither has lived the life they imagined . . . and neither can forget the passionate first love that forever changed their lives. As Amanda and Dawson carry out the instructions Tuck left behind for them, they realize that everything they thought they knew -- about Tuck, about themselves, and about the dreams they held dear -- was not as it seemed. Forced to confront painful memories, the two former lovers will discover undeniable truths about the choices they have made. And in the course of a single, searing weekend, they will ask of the living, and the dead: Can love truly rewrite the past?

Sounds like a Nicholas Sparks novel to me. The project joins Safe Haven as yet another Sparks novel heading to the big screen. Honestly, they can make dozens of these, but I just don't think any of them are going to shake a stick at The Notebook. That adaptation, while certainly melodramatic and cheesy at times, had help from great performances by Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams. Other films have rounded up decent talent, but the perfect storm to get that kind of romantic magic captured again just hasn't happened. Could The Best of Me change that?  It's more generic fare for Hoffman, who has the remake of Gambit, scripted by the Coen Brothers, waiting for release, but maybe he can make it great.

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