The trailer for Craig Johnson’s adaptation of Dan Clowes’ graphic novel Wilson was released on Tuesday and it’s Woody Harrelsoneriffic. As Slate’s Jacob Brogan wrote when filming started, Wilson is an odd piece to adapt into a movie to begin with, since it’s built from comic-strip gags. The key to its success or failure as a film will be the title role, since the novel is exclusively from Wilson’s perspective. Judging from the footage in the trailer, Harrelson is going to be a little less unpleasant than the novel’s version of his character: less “genuine misanthrope” and more “indie film misanthrope.”
The film looks to be structured around an attempt by Wilson to build an improvised family with his ex-wife (Laura Dern) and a daughter he didn’t know he had (Isabella Amara). Which sounds like it might be, at times, heartwarming? As evidence against that, the trailer also offers a terrible date with Margo Martindale and a Harrelson getting beaten up by prison Nazis. Here’s hoping the film makes it to theaters with bleakness and misery intact: the last thing we need right now is more optimism.