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.