Don DeLillo’s White Noise is one of those classic “impossible to film” novels, a plot-light, postmodernism-heavy exploration of death, consumerism, death, quiet suburban misery, and a nice additional helping of extra and subsequent death. In its satirical story of Jack and Babette Gladney, a pioneer of “Hitler studies” at a local college and his mostly-loving wife, DeLillo’s 1985 novel wanders across a whole host of modern anxieties, spiraling ever inward toward the Gladney’s grim and omnipresent fear of their own demise. In other words: Kind of hard to turn into a movie with, say, a traditional three-act structure.
None of which appears to be daunting Noah Baumbach, or two of his regular contributors, with The Film Stage—working from a Production Weekly posting surfaced by Jason Osia on Twitter—reporting that the Marriage Story director will next be tackling an adaptation of the book with his old pal Adam Driver as Jack, and his wife and long-time creative partner, Greta Gerwig, as Babette. Per that same Production Weekly excerpt, the film is expected to go into production in June.
Of course, it took Film Twitter absolutely zero time to start getting nice and divisive about whether Baumbach is a good fit for DeLillo’s prose, which is digressive, swift moving, and often prone to intentional hyper-saturation. That kind of deliberate sensory overload feels a little at odds with Baumbach’s established style, but it’s hard to deny that it’ll be interesting to see what he, Driver, and Gerwig can make out of the meaty, twisty subject matter of DeLillo’s book.