Screenwriter Deborah Moggach talks about the process of moving a story from page to screen:
Adaptation has to be both brutal and tender. You have to be brutal, to turn the noun into the verb. You have to reassemble the story, as a film. To find a strong narrative you might have to jettison characters, pull a comb through the dialogue, create new dialogue, conflate scenes, create new scenes, radically reorganise the story. But this must be done in a spirit of love, which means keeping faith with the spirit of the original story. This is not the same thing as being retentive.Peter Bradshaw argues that some of the best films have come not from novels, but from short stories:
There are distinct advantages to working from a short story that are not available when you are translating a novel. There is not the same quart-in-a-pint-pot problem; the screenwriter need not feel the headachey compression of material, or the need to axe characters and storylines without which the novel works logically, but loses much of the flavour which made it attractive in the first place. A short story is a platform, a challenge, a coiled spring of potential.Elsewhere, Andrew Pulver looks at the tricky question of casting, Suzie Steiner considers the movie-tie-in book cover, and Giles Foden considers the books which have never made it to screen.
Which begs a couple of questions: which books do you think would be impossible to film, and which hitherto unfilmed books would you like to see made into movies?
The Film of the Book (12/9/05)
Best Film Adapatations? (21/1/06)