You’re an executive producer who needs to decide whether to co-finance a proposed adaptation of M.L. Stedman‘s “The Light Between Oceans,” a 1920s period drama that Derek Cianfrance will direct. The basic set-up is that Tom (Michael Fassbender), a World War I veteran and lighthouse keeper, and his wife Isabel (Alicia Vikander) are living on an isolated island off the west coast of Australia. The inciting incident is the discovery of a dead man and a live baby in a boat that’s washed onto shore. Having suffered through two miscarriages and a stillbirth, Isabel decides that the baby is a “gift from God” (baby Moses found in the Nile reeds) and ignores her husband’s natural impulse to report the discovery. Reality eventually intrudes. Would you invest in this film, and why? I would run in the other direction. Who could identify with a woman so deluded or self-absorbed that she would believe she can keep an abandoned baby like a $20 bill found on the street? Who would raise a child on an isolated island without benefit of schools and the opportunity to develop social skills? I don’t even want to see this thing, despite Stedman’s 2012 book having been roundly praised.
Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander in forthcoming Focus Features release, The Light Between Oceans.