Born to Run bestseller gets film adaptation


Bestselling American writer Christopher McDougall’s hit Born to Run is the kind of running adventure story that has movie written all over it. While actor Peter Sarsgaard (Garden State, An Education) was penning the screenplay himself, McDougall told Relaxnews that the writing project is back in his hands, with the movie possibly filming this summer.
Born to Run, now published in some 15 languages, is a heart-pumping tale of a handful of crazed American ultra-runners racing a reclusive tribe of superrunners, the Tarahumara Indians, in Mexico’s treacherous Copper Canyon. McDougall, himself a key character in the book, was supposedly to be played by US actor Jake Gyllenhaal — who has reportedly been spotted running around Hollywood Hills in Vibram FiveFingers shoes, which McDougall made famous in the book. McDougall couldn’t confirm Gyllenhaal’s commitment, but he did that say that he, Gyllenhaal, and Sarsgaard traveled to the Leadville 100 ultra trail race in Colorado to scout locations for the film and witness the runners in action.
McDougall told Relaxnews that the film adaptation negotiations have recently been on the griddle, with him taking on the project after finding Sarsgaard’s screenplay to be misguided. Sarsgaard also was hoping to make this project his directorial debut, but McDougall, who was excited about working with the “Jake/Peter combo,” said the working relationship with Sarsgaard has become acrimonious.
“I think people interpret [the book] in their own way, from their own experience,” McDougall said. “Some people look at Born to Run like it’s this manifesto, that anyone can run 100 miles, but I’m trying to say the exact opposite of that,” he said. “I’m saying don’t be tough.”
“We have this unfortunate puritanical zeal to punish ourselves when we approach running, so when you go for a run, it’d better hurt or you’re doing it wrong,” he said. “If you run, you better start training for a marathon. But we don’t approach any other physical fitness that way — when someone is swimming, you don’t force them to tread water for hours, or have the goal to swim the English Channel as fast as you can.”
McDougall adds that he is also working on a book project, another adventure story. While he won’t give away too many details, he said he is looking at how “natural movement played a pivotal role in resistance fighting in World War II.”