Following in the footsteps of Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson, Angelica Houston, John Malkovitch, and Steve Buscemi, Woody Harrelson has become the latest celebrity to portray a Daniel Clowes character. Wilson, which will premiere at Sundance on Sunday and other places on March 24, is, as Clowes fans will know, based on the 2010 graphic novel of the same name. Clowes wrote the screenplay for the Craig Johnson-helmed project, with Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, The Descendants) producing.
The titular protagonist, writes Gordon Flagg in Booklist, is “a middle-aged loner who voices his misanthropic views in self-absorbed soliloquies and harangues strangers in coffee shops and waiting rooms.” The book follows him after his father dies, a crisis that inspires “the sudden need to reconnect with the closest thing he has to remaining family, his long-absent ex-wife and the now-grown daughter she put up for adoption after separation from him.” In summary, it’s a “cautionary tale about the consequences of intellect without empathy.” (Read the full review, whydontcha?)
Wilson marks the third time Clowes’ work has been adapted for the screen, following Ghost World (2001) and Art School Confidential (2006), both directed by Terry Zwigoff. It’s also the third directorial effort from Johnson, who made a splash with his 2014 dramedy, The Skeleton Twins, starring Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader.
Clowes’ longtime publisher, Drawn and Quarterly, will release a paperback, tie-in edition of Wilson in February.