There’s a great article in the Independent today by Danuta Keane about “Why so many novels never make it to the big screen”.
“Books provide filmmakers with ready-made plots on which to base screenplays
(useful when plagiarism claims start to fly), and a proven audience. But unless
they are global mega-sellers like Dan Brown, J K Rowling or Michael Crichton,
the actual authors are lower on the food chain than the screenwriter, and if you
think they are respected, watch Sunset Boulevard or The Player.”
The Player is one of my favourite movies - showing how a sensitive literary story is turned into a blockbuster starring Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis in an explosively ridiculous ending.
I had my own brush with Hollywood with my first novel The Flame Tree. It was truly a brief encounter but telling none the less. It went something like this:
Hollywood production company: Love the story. Where is Malaysia? Can we set it in Vietnam?
Me: Uh, no.
Danuta’s article also has a list of the 5 best film adaptations of books and also the 5 worst. I’d add to the best adaptations “Gone With The Wind”, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and “Maurice”. And amongst the worst - Polanski’s “Tess of the D’Urbevilles”.
What are your favourite or least favourite film adaptations of books? Which adaptations do you think are the best or the worst? Add a comment or email me and let’s see if we get a consensus or lots of different views!