Coming to a theater near you: Jennifer Garner! Hugh Jackman! Mike Hawthorne!

OK, York City resident Mike Hawthorne doesn't quite fit the marquee billing of the two Hollywood stars, but there's a good possibility his artistic work will be the inspiration for a movie starring Garner and Jackman.

Hawthorne, 33, said one of his graphic novels, "Three Days in Europe," is being considered for a movie adaptation by Garner's production company.

Hawthorne has been a graphic illustrator for about a decade. The five-issue mini-series "Three Days in Europe" was first released in 2002.

"This is one of my favorite books," said Hawthorne, whose work also has appeared in DC and Marvel comics.

Illustrator Mike Hawthorne could see his artwork translated to the silver screen if the graphic novel "Three Days in Europe" gets greenlighted by
Illustrator Mike Hawthorne could see his artwork translated to the silver screen if the graphic novel "Three Days in Europe" gets greenlighted by Vandalia Films. The book's main characters, Jack Pentura and Jill Boscombe, could be played by Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Garner. (Randy Flaum Illustration)

Garner's company, Vandalia Films, recently announced its intention to develop several different movies, including Garner's taking a lead role in "Three Days in Europe," along with Jackman, famous for his roles in the "X-Men" movies. Garner has starred in the movies "Juno" and "13 Going on 30."

Hawthorne's novel revolves around a Valentine's Day trip to Europe by a couple, one wanting to go to Paris to visit an art gallery, one wanting to go London to attend a rock concert. Their tickets are accidentally switched, and they each go to the other city, instead of their destination of choice.

And he feels ... ?: What is Hawthorne's reaction to the possibility of Hollywood fame?

"It probably sounds a little stupid, but I've been avoiding it," Hawthorne said.


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Just a "little" stupid?

Hawthorne explained he doesn't like working with agents who take control of negotiations, leaving him out of the loop. The last time he had Hollywood interest, things
ended tragically. Years ago, Hawthorne's then-agent was in talks with several companies, including Paramount, to develop one of Hawthorne's novels into a movie or television show.

Before a deal could be finalized, his agent died in a car accident.

Illustrator Mike Hawthorne could see his artwork translated to the silver screen if the graphic novel "Three Days in Europe" gets greenlighted by
Illustrator Mike Hawthorne could see his artwork translated to the silver screen if the graphic novel "Three Days in Europe" gets greenlighted by Vandalia Films. The book's main characters, Jack Pentura and Jill Boscombe, could be played by Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Garner. (Randy Flaum Illustration)
Hawthorne had no idea who his agent had talked to at the companies, so any potential deal fell apart.

For "Three Days in Europe," it was the novel's publishing company, not an agent, that has helped get it consideration for a movie deal, he said.

Even with Garner's interest now, Hawthorne is cautious about the prospect of a movie adaptation.

"Lots of stuff gets optioned (to become a movie), and then nothing happens," he said. Garner's company is new, however, and that might make it easier for his movie to be chosen from its list of possibilities, he said.

Joe Nozemack, the publisher for Oni Press, which released "Three Days in Europe," said the company is "currently talking with various studios and financiers." He confirmed that Garner's company is in talks to develop a movie, but declined to elaborate until a deal is reached.

Comic relief: Moviegoers wouldn't have to look far to find comic book or graphic novel adaptations on the big screen. This summer, "Iron Man" and "The Dark Knight" have been major movie successes.

"It's been a huge summer for comic book movies," Hawthorne said.

Of course, those center around heroes and villains. "Three Days in Europe" is a romantic comedy, a rarity for graphic novels. Hawthorne said the writing, done by Antony Johnston, is "very funny," and is a twist on O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi." There are unintended, comical consequences suffered by a stubborn couple trying to surprise their partner with a weekend trip -- except it's scheduled for the same weekend, in different countries.

Hawthorne said he hopes that if the movie does happen, he can stay involved on some level beyond just a credit for illustrating the novel. Lately, some movies based on comics are using the advice of creators during filming, he said.

"I think Hollywood is getting wise that maybe they should get the creators involved," Hawthorne said.

Until a deal is final, Hawthorne can only sit and hope it works out. Oh, and hope a certain former "Alias" star feels the need to personally talk to him.

"I'm still waiting for Jennifer to give me a call," Hawthorne said with a laugh.

-- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or ashaw@yorkdispatch.com.

Art exhibit
York City resident Mike Hawthorne will have his work on display at the York Emporium in August.

Hawthorne will be on hand to open the Emporium's First Friday events for August with a free wine and cheese reception at the used bookstore's The Middle Gallery at 7 p.m. Friday. The William Penn High School graduate will have his work showcased throughout August along with York artists Leo Murphy, Steven Heffner and L.W. Perkins. The Emporium is located at 343 W. Market St. in York.