The Tourist and Other Myths

Now, I while back, I read a novel called The Tourist, by Olen Steinhauer. What I had was known as an advance reader’s copy (it’s all right, I’m a professional), and it featured as a selling point the fact that the book had been optioned for a movie to star George Clooney. I cringed. The problem was that I liked the book; but I don’t like George Clooney. He also struck me as being all wrong for the lead role, and as I read, I would sometimes sigh to myself over how it would soon be ruined on the big screen.


Now, I while back, I read a novel called The Tourist, by Olen Steinhauer. What I had was known as an advance reader’s copy (it’s all right, I’m a professional), and it featured as a selling point the fact that the book had been optioned for a movie to star George Clooney. I cringed. The problem was that I liked the book; but I don’t like George Clooney. He also struck me as being all wrong for the lead role, and as I read, I would sometimes sigh to myself over how it would soon be ruined on the big screen.

When I saw a little ad for The American online — I somehow didn’t see a single trailer for this, so I’m thinking they’re not really pushing it for some reason, perhaps on the assumption that middle-aged women everywhere will simply blindly show up at the theatres when they see the name George Clooney — I was confused. My first thought was that this was The Tourist, being ruined at last, under a different name.

But a brief net search showed I was wrong. This is based on an entirely different book by Martin Booth, a novel originally titled A Very Private Gentleman.

Now, my confusion isn’t so weird as it might seem at first glance. (Granted, I am easily confused, but this one wasn’t entirely my fault.) Both novels –and note that I am only talking novels here; heaven knows what might become of them on the screen — feature men with, er, let’s call them unusual jobs. Milo Weaver of The Tourist is a former CIA operative trying to be content as a desk jockey after working in the field for years. Clark, aka Signor Farfalla, of The American is a technical weapons expert. That is, he builds the gadgets the super-spies and high-level assassins use.

I looked further, and learned first of all, that The Tourist is a very popular movie title. The imdb lists sixteen movies of that name, though admittedly two of those are actually working titles and another one went straight to video. Still, the vast majority are recent flicks, so it’s trendy, it seems.

I spot The Tourist listed for 2010 and think, “Aha! That must be the book adaptation at last.” A click shows that it stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie.

My first thought was, “This can’t be!” My second was, “Is Angelina taller than Johnny? He isn’t all that tall, is he?” But it turns out he’s taller by a couple of inches. Angelina’s only 5’8″, not the at least 5’10” I always thought. Must be the heels.

It also turns out that my first thought was right; this still isn’t The Tourist that I’m looking for. My relief is huge. Though on the other hand, Johnny Depp will be trying to play a regular guy in that film, and given some of his recent roles, I’m not entirely sure how well that will work. Angelina is still a super-spy, because apparently that’s all she wants to play now.

There’s a mystery Tourist due out in 2012, though, so maybe that’s the right one at last. I won’t know for a while yet, though. It seems that imdb is cruelly withholding the details, in another insidious bid to make me spend money on imdb Pro.