‘Mulan’ Director Niki Caro Makes ‘Beautiful Ruins’ Adaptation Her Next Film

While Niki Caro’s live-action Mulan keeps getting pushed around the schedule by Disney, the director has decided on what she’ll do next. Variety reports Caro will team up with Amblin on an adaptation of Jess Walter’s bestselling book, Beautiful Ruins.

Beautiful Ruins will find Caro heading from ancient China to 1960s Italy for a story that spans decades to contemporary Hollywood. The film will be written by Mark Hammer and Chiara Atik, although an earlier draft was written by A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood duo Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster.

Here is the book synopsis: The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying. And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.

What unfolds is a dazzling, yet deeply human, roller coaster of a novel, spanning fifty years and nearly as many lives. From the lavish set of Cleopatra to the shabby revelry of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Walter introduces us to the tangled lives of a dozen unforgettable characters: the starstruck Italian innkeeper and his long-lost love; the heroically preserved producer who once brought them together and his idealistic young assistant; the army veteran turned fledgling novelist and the rakish Richard Burton himself, whose appetites set the whole story in motion—along with the husbands and wives, lovers and dreamers, superstars and losers, who populate their world in the decades that follow.

A satire is a bit different from what we’ve seen from Caro in the past. She’s a supremely talented filmmaker, though, having won me over early with Whale Rider, and there’s every reason to think she can knock this out of the park. Obviously, Amblin Partners agree, and will look to this as a possible awards contender.


Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.