Exciting news. New York Magazine reports that Jesse Eisenberg has been cast in a film adaptation of
Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella, The
Double. Eisenberg is to be directed by Richard Ayoade, known to British audiences for his comedic roles in The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh and Man to Man with Dean
Learner. Ayoade made his directorial debut earlier this year with Submarine, which was adapted from Joe Dunthorne’s
adored novel of the same name.
The plot of The Double revolves around Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, a government clerk who finds he has been replaced by a man with his exact likeness. The tale, first published in Russian
as Dvoynik in 1846, sets a precedent for the forbidding bureaucratic worlds of Kafka, and creates a psychological portrait of a man whose identity is cast into doubt.
In some sense, an adaptation of The Double continues a theme in contemporary mainstream cinema. The uncanny ‘double’, or doppelgänger, has offered a way of exploring dark psychological terrain
in films such as Aronofsky’s Black Swan and David Fincher’s 1999 film Fight Club. Whilst the influence of Kafka or Dostoyevsky has been felt in other recent films, most notably
Brad Anderson’s psychological thriller The Machinist.
Rhys Tranter blogs at A Piece of Monologue.