Jennifer Egan Film Adaptations 🎥

Jennifer Egan’s back catalogue is a proven fertile ground for some of the best film helmers and directors, and it’s not hard to understand why that is because her storylines are innovative, engaging and actable on the big screen.

Jennifer Egan

American Novelist

Egan’s books have attracted top helmers, such as the likes of veteran director Peter Lindsay Weir and Adam Brooks who oversaw the book-to-screen remakings of the author’s two works in ‘The Keep’ and ‘The Invincible Circus’ respectively. Egan’s best work, ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ is yet to receive a television remake, however, this won’t be for long as there are rumors that American actor and filmmaker Olivia Wilde is set to oversee the adaptations of ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ and later its sequel, ‘The Candy House.’ This article will explore completed adaptations to Jennifer Egan’s books, as well as those still in the making.

The Invisible Circus (2001): Film By Adam Brooks 

The Invisible Circus’ is a 2001 film produced off of Jennifer Egan’s original novel work in 1994. Adam Brooks wrote the screenplay and also directed the film, with Julia Chasman and Nick Wechsler pioneering the production. 

‘The Invisible Circus’ was first launched on 11th January at the Sundance Film Fest and released officially to the American public the following month. The film, which was shot in English with a runtime is 93 minutes, garnered over 77,000 dollars at the box office, which hardly indicates any sort of commercial success given the amount expended. 

Another indication of the film’s poor performance is the review it got – which is quite the opposite of the original book by Egan. Rotten Tomatoes – a films and television review aggregator website – posted that the film got as low as 22 percent rating from as many as 63 reviews it managed. 

For the cast, Phoebe O’Connor’s character was done by two actresses – Camilla Belle and Jordana Brewster – to fill for her younger and adult versions. Cameron Diaz slain Faith O’Connor, and Christopher Eccleston as Christopher or ‘Wolf’ as he is also known.

Like the original book of the same name, the film’s plot is set in the 70s Bay Area with Phoebe greatly perturbed over the news of the death of her sister Faith O’Connor in a foreign country. And so begins a journey for Phoebe as she tries to uncover the mystery surrounding her sister’s sad passing, but it’s not going to be easy – as it takes her away from her local San Francisco village sending her across Europe where she crosses paths with Wolf (Christopher) who also happens to be the boyfriend of her late sister. 

A Visit from the Goon Squad and The Candy House Adaptations 2023: (Upcoming) Films By Olivia Wilde 

After Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad’ won the Pulitzer prize, pay tv entertainment giant HBO looked set to roll out the book’s big screen version after an agreement was thought to have been made. However, by 2013 the deal seemed to have stalled due to a breakdown in post-agreement plans and negotiations among the parties involved. As a result, Goon Squad stayed another ten years without a tv remake. 

In April of 2023, A24, U.S.-based independent films and television company, announced that big plans are underway to develop a befitting film for Egan’s ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ alongside its 2022 sequel, ‘The Candy House.’ 

The company plans to line up Olivia Wilde as the director and executive producer (alongside Jennifer Egan) for the films. Wilde’s involvement in the project is a testament to her the success of her previous technical and acting roles in films ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ and ‘Booksmart’ – with the former going on to become one of the top three female-directed Box Office highest-grossing films for 2022, while the latter won several important films awards and nominations. 

Both adaptations are largely expected to stay true to the original book narrative by Egan, with as few utterances as are necessary to enhance the quality of the scenes as well as the characters.

The Keep (Slated for) 2012: By Peter Weir

Egan’s 2006 spine-chilling gothic thriller is another of the author’s best pieces rumored to be in the works for a television appearance in 2012. It was quite more than a rumor when mainstream entertainment sources  – including IndieWire – confirmed that the veteran Aussie director, Peter Weir, was working on the project after a comeback from a lengthy hiatus. 

Weir’s industry experience spans over forty years, within which he has helmed several great films – including ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ and ‘The Last Wave’ – across a range of genres, and so looked set to take on Egan’s banger book, ‘The Keep,’ after agreeing a deal that could see him tweak the screenplay.

Rumors of Peter Weir’s Sudden Retirement 

It’s been 11 years since Weir took on the task of helming the adaptation of ‘The Keep’ and the release of the film has still not happened. Ethan Hawke, a friend and colleague of the veteran director has however suggested that Weir ‘lost interest’ in filmmaking and decided to leave Hollywood after falling out with a number of A-list actors – including Johnny Depp. 

Weir’s last movie was ‘The Way Back,’ released in the same year as Egan’s Goon Squad, and about the same time, he was working on ‘Shantaram’ – a film that also featured Depp. Weir would however eventually leave the technical team and discontinue his film’s development after a series of in-house snags – which was later rumored to have been caused by creative differences in the team.


What book by Jennifer Egan has been adapted into a film?

Egan’s 1994 maiden novel, ‘The Invisible Circus,’ was adapted into a film and released in 2001 – with Adam Brooks as the helmer. However, the film went down quietly and didn’t prove to be a commercial success based on its box office numbers. 

Is Adam Brooks ‘The Invisible Circus’ a good film?

While the film can be seen as decent and true to Egan’s original novel work, ‘The Invisible Circus’ performed very badly in reviews and sales. 

Why can’t I find ‘Goon Squad’ in the film? 

Egan’s trademark novel, ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad,’ has yet to be successfully screened for film and television despite good progress from top directors and film production companies over the last decade.

What books of Egan have been lined up for a television remake? 

Aside from ‘The Invisible Circus’ that’s successfully been remade into film, nearly all the other works of Egan – including ‘The Keep,’ ‘Goon Squad,’ ‘Manhattan Beach,’ and ‘The Candy House’ have all been billed through a protected and unsuccessful television remake.

Will ‘Manhattan Beach’ be made into a film? 

Manhattan Beach’ could be well in the works for the screen, and this is based on a 2017 announcement by Scott Rudin Productions saying that it had bought the right to do so from the book’s author Jennifer Egan

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap
Share to...