I just had a rather cosmic moment. While perusing the Huffington Post Web site I came across a promo video with Nora Eprhon talking about a new HP feature entitled “Breakovers” which is the product of a break-up catalyzing a major make-over. As many of my friends are aware, ever since the manuscript migrated from Word to In-Design, I’ve imagined Nora Ephron directing the film version of the book, with Patricia Clarkson playing the therapist.
The film adaptation would be based on the “The Arthur Files” section of the book and would chronicle the evolution and dissolution of the relationship between ARTHUR WEISS, the burly, bearded, lapsed Orthodox-Jew, and ABBY MARCUS, the half-Jewish “kosher shiksa.”
Despite sharing a similar map of the world, ARTHUR and ABBY’s relationship is complicated by his previous five years of celibacy and inability to detach from his controlling-but-beautiful, Hungarian-speaking mother, ESME. While ARTHUR is smart, sarcastic, and funny, he is held captive by his anger at not having been born to upper-West Side, Reformed Jewish parents, versus immigrant, Orthodox parents who landed in Borough Park, Brooklyn. A doctor by training—a medical writer by choice—and a Kung-Fu master in his dreams, he wants to move beyond his pharmaceutical company clients and become a serious author; a cross between Philip Roth and Isaac Bashevis-Singer.
The “recognition” process and the significant themes discussed in the book (such as boundaries, conflict avoidance, rationalization) are addressed through ARTHUR’s ongoing ambivalence toward his family, his desire to create a life with ABBY—and ABBY’S sessions with HANNAH. There, she grapples to understand his contradictory behavior, along with her growing attraction to DARIUS, an art director who she works with at Angst Jetzt—an online magazine for “people who prize gray matter.” A Web site that bridges graphic design with Jungian perspectives.
The turning point in their relationship is a histrionic Passover Seder where ARTHUR chooses to unleash his discomfort about his pedigree and his fear of being swallowed up by partnership in front of ABBY’s family—who are horrified by his crass remarks and disregard for the traditions of the occasion.
Things devolve from there, and ABBY finds herself moving toward DARIUS, who seems to be everything that ARTHUR is not: someone with self-esteem who is emotionally available.
If I were the casting agent and not the writer, I would choose Zach Galafanakis as ARTHUR, and Rebecca Hall as ABBY. While I’m open to suggestions regarding the two leads, Patricia Clarkson is not negotiable.