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Route 66 News

“The Leisure Seeker” film gets a Grade-A cast

The Leisure Seeker book cover

The good news is the film version of Michael Zadoorian’s Route 66 novel “The Leisure Seeker” will star Donald Sutherland and Helen Mirren in the lead roles, and filming will begin later this year.

The bad news is the film won’t take place on Route 66.

“The Leisure Seeker” is about John and Ella Robina, an elderly and ailing couple — he with dementia, she with cancer — who take a madcap, wistful road trip on Route 66 in their RV. Zaadorian’s book came out in 2009 (review here) and long shopped around for a film version.

Zadoorian recently revealed during a radio interview on WMUK in his native Detroit about Italian director Paulo Virzi making his first English-language film with Sutherland and Mirren in the lead roles for “The Leisure Seeker.” Sutherland is 81, and Mirren is 71 — a proper age for the source material.

“The Leisure Seeker” roles seem to be Oscar bait. Mirren has been nominated for an Academy Award four times and won once. Sutherland starred several Oscar-winning films but never has won the statuette.

But the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story about the film in May, reports “The Leisure Seeker” won’t take place on the Mother Road, but on road trip from Boston to Key West, Florida.

So that’s disappointing. But interest in “The Leisure Seeker” novel undoubtedly will surge after the film’s release, probably sometime next year. A lot of new readers will enjoy John and Ella’s journey and the real-life places depicted on Route 66.

You can read an interview with Zadoorian about his travels and research about Route 66 before writing his book.

3 thoughts on ““The Leisure Seeker” film gets a Grade-A cast

  1. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley

    This should be filmed on AMERICA’S MAIN STREET…not some back-East-trail between Bean Town and the Toe of Florida! It needs to be set on ROUTE 66!

    Soooooo, RON – start a ‘DRIVE Petition’ (something like a ‘Petition DRIVE’.) Gather all your readership to write. Spread the word to each state’s Route 66 organization, towns along the way, International Touring groups, etc.. Soon — the Movie Moguls will understand: ROUTE 66 is the ONLY location for this film — the public demands it!

    Be brave.
    Get us some Email addresses, Ron.
    Share some ‘talking points’ for letters.

    The cameras aren’t set-up yet. This can happen. THINK OF THE ATTENTION ‘CARS’ BROUGHT BACK TO ROUTE 66. Once they see the ground-swell of attention this production’s fans have, they will drive on over. This could be a boon for Route business; Plus, it could instill interest in a couple of fresh generations that (1) go to the flicks and (2) have never traveled the roadway.

    After all, this is a road leading to California; Wouldn’t that mean it was ‘A Pathway To The (Movie) Stars!’

  2. Peter Corbett

    What? That is such a poor decision. I have not read this but it sounds like Route 66 is a “character” in this movie and that should be respected. I would be angry if this was my novel. Good luck to the director, starting off by alienating a big chunk of the audience.

    1. Joan Reed

      Yes, Route 66 IS a character in this heartwarming novel. Does the Boston to Florida route mean they end up at Disneyland? This novel was a huge hit with my book club and I am looking forward to the movie in 2017.

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