If you read that New York Times story last week about the mystery apartment on Fifth Avenue, you may have thought that the family profiled, as well as their architect, was a tragic example of people genuinely at a loss for ways to spend their money without doing anything tacky like giving it to the poor. J.J. Abrams, however, thought it sounded like a great movie. Abrams has purchased the rights to the article, by Penelope Green, which explains how a family of financial types Steven B. Klinsky (who runs his own private-equity firm) and Maureen Sherry (who apparently chose a good moment to leave Bear Stearns) hired architectural designer Eric Clough to renovate their $8.5 million Fifth Avenue apartment and Clough — without their permission — added all kinds of cranks and secret doors and hidden panels to make their house into a big whimsical puzzle for their amusement.
Unfortunately, Abrams probably won’t focus the movie on the most interesting part of the story, which is that Clough probably belongs in an insane asylum. For instance, one of the delightful “clues” the family discovered — in their brand-new $8.5 million apartment! — was that a part of the parents’ custom-made bed snapped off for no reason. Luckily, this particular family found the game delightful, but others probably would’ve suspected that they’d paid 50 times the price for particle-board furniture.
Abrams is going to have to make a few changes to the story if he expects it to actually be appealing. We’d suggest making the family poor and having them inherit the apartment (from dead long-lost uncle or something), because they’d probably be a lot more sympathetic if they didn’t have a choice about living in a real-life National Treasure. Frankly, we’d like to see Abrams movie about a New York apartment with a more authentic puzzle, such as the Mystery of the Unpredictable Hot-Water Supply, or the Mouse Who Can Fit Through a One-Centimeter Hole. —Linda Holmes
J.J. Abrams to produce ‘Mystery’ [HR]
Mystery on Fifth Avenue [NYT]