‘Go The F— To Sleep’: Coming The F— To A Theater Near You?

Mark Deming
Movie Talk

Practically every successful work of fiction gets optioned for the movies eventually, but one book that seemed like a poor bet for a film adaptation may be coming to the big screen after all: "Go The F--- To Sleep."

Fox 2000 has announced they’ve purchased the film rights to Adam Mansbach's popular children's book parody, published by Akashic Books, in which a parent tries with increasing desperation to persuade their two-year-old offspring to settle down and take a nap, with a growing number of F bombs being dropped as the story goes along.

Fox 2000 have not only bought the rights to "Go The F--- To Sleep," they've already signed screenwriters for the project, Ken Marino and Erica Oyama. Marino got his start on the MTV sketch comedy series "The State," wrote the screenplays for "Role Models" and "Wanderlust," was a regular on the cult-favorite cable show "Party Down," and has been an actor and director for the Adult Swim series "Children's Hospital" and Yahoo's web comedy "Burning Love." Oyama was also a writer and actor on "Children's Hospital" and "Burning Love," and she happens to be Marino's wife; they have a child, which means they've already done a fair amount of research for the project.

"Go The F--- To Sleep" became an immediate commercial success when it was published in 2011, jumping to the top of Amazon's Best Seller's list, and an audio version of the book, read by Samuel L. Jackson, became a viral sensation that same year. But the announcement that Fox 2000 wants to make a feature film out of Mansbach's book raises a lot of questions. Since the book is only thirty-two pages long, and it can be read aloud in less than five minutes, how will Marino and Oyama stretch it out to full length? Is the studio thinking of an animated film that will follow the style of Ricardo Cortes's original illustrations, or will they go for a live-action interpretation? How does Fox 2000 expect to release a movie with the F Word in the title? (It's been done, but never by a major American studio and not outside the art-house circuit.) And will Samuel L. Jackson be brought in to narrate the story? (If he's not available, Werner Herzog did a dandy job with it, too.)

Of course, in a time and place where a sociological text on bullying among young women could become the movie "Mean Girls," and an internet meme can evolve into a sitcom called "$#*! My Dad Says," practically nothing seems too far-fetched in show business these days. So relax, and wait the f--- for further updates.