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On Adaptations; Plus, a Prediction

I’m working for a writer who is adapting a book.  I’ve never adapted anything, and it’s a strange process to watch.  He’s taken the story in a strange new direction; the entire book is basically just the first act of the film.  He’s also renaming character willy nilly, for no reason whatsoever.  I don’t really understand why he’d do that.

It reminds me of an old story Stephen King wrote about.  Allow me to paraphrase:

A young writer met his hero, the Great Novelist.  He gushed about how fantastic the Novelist’s work was, how it moved him and changed his life.  Then he asked, “But how could you sell your masterpieces to those Hollywood producers?  They ruined your books!”

“No, they didn’t,” the Author replied, gesturing to the bookshelf behind him.  “They’re all still right here.”

It is strange that a studio would go through the hassle of obtaining rights to an existing property, only to alter it unrecognizably.  But it is true: the book is still right there.

– – –

Kinda on the topic of adaptations, I just rewatched Dark Knight and had a sudden revelation.  At the end of Batman Begins, Gordon pulls out a Joker card and talks to Batman about “escalation.”  What was Dark Knight about?

Escalation.

So, Dark Knight ends with Batman all alone, and Gordon telling Macaulay Culkin’s clone that the cops have to hunt him (Batman, not Gordon).

Now, if the problem of the next film is hero-against-the-world, how do you solve that?  He needs to find a partner!  In Batman’s world, that leaves us with either Robin, who has been ruled out, or… Catwoman.

Remember this post when Batman 3 comes out.  I called it first!

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4 Responses

  1. I read every entry of your blog last night starting from the very beginning in April. You’re hilarious! I’m a fellow (aspiring) writer and had a quick question for you- how do I go about getting a literary agent to send out my scripts? Do I just send it to them and let them know it’s coming? I figured you’d be the most knowledgeable on the subject. Thanks!

  2. as a comic book fan it’s ten times worse. you already get labeled for liking something perceived as childish and then someone makes GHOST RIDER or DAREDEVIL and people think you’re crazy for liking comics.

    i am all in favor of changing something when the format needs it. i cite william goldman’s screenplay for MISERY having annie wilkes stalk her prey rather than coincedentally finding him. in the REMEMBER THE TITANS commentary the coach said he has three daughters all with “C” names and they changed that because it would have confused the audience and they’re probably right.

    changing HULK (2003) and giving him six origins in the same movie doesn’t improve anything, it just makes it worse. making batgirl alfred niece (in BATMAN & ROBIN instead of jim gordon’s daughter) without a british accent is just stupid.

    i can’t wait for the WATCHMEN and STAR TREK screaming to start.

    http://www.jamesford.wordpress.com

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