City of Ember

Release Date: October 10, 2008

Movie of the Day for Wednesday, July 2, 2008
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 Bill Murray receives the divorce papers.

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Continuing the trend of bringing lesser-known young adult literature series to the big screen, Walden Media will adapt 2003 novel The City of Ember for release in October.

The first in the Book of Ember series (which will see the fourth volume released in August 2008), the movie (and gist of the series) is about two children, Lina Mayfleet (Saoirse Ronan) and Doon Harrow (Harry Treadaway, a British actor unknown in North America, though I feel the need to mention that he's 22 and yet in the book both main characters are 12-year-olds) who live in the city of Ember, a self-contained city. The only source of light is electrical lamps, there is no sun, moon or stars. The city has now been operational for over 200 years and now its origins and what to do when the generator powering the city begins to fail has been lost over time, and it's now up to our plucky heroes to find a way to survive. Bill Murray co-stars as the mayor of Ember.

Besides the Chronicles of Narnia series, Walden Media is also responsible for the recent children's literature adaptations Bridge to Terabithia (a solid hit), Seeker (a big disappointment) and Nim's Island (a moderate performer). Where City of Ember ends up is hard to say since I'm about as familiar with it as I was these other adaptations (which is to say, not at all), but it does have the advantage of having its trailer debut in front of Prince Caspian, the second Narnia release. Also, this will be the first role for Ronan since her Academy Award-nominated performance in Atonement, with The Lovely Bones not seeing release until 2009, so that's probably good for some press.

Walden Media's releases have been box office crapshoots, but City of Ember is certainly something that could catch on with younger audiences this fall. (Tim Briody/BOP)

Vital statistics for City of Ember
Main Cast Bill Murray, Tim Robbins, Saoirse Ronan
Supporting Cast Harry Treadaway, Martin Landau, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Toby Jones, Mary Kay Place
Director Gil Kenan
Screenwriter Caroline Thompson
Distributor Fox Walden
Official Site
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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