ADAPTATION

I hear a lot of writers talk and cry about their baby and how it will be handled once it’s out in the big wide world – my works are not my children but like children, they must make their own mistakes and find the right paths to the right door.

Someone asked in a forum how we would feel if our work was taken up to be adapted for film or television. One word instantly springs into my mind; distance. It really is necessary to stand back and see the different mediums and direction between the two art forms. The story will be analysed and someone else’s view will erupt in the middle of your creation; it might not appear as anything you ever imagined, but wouldn’t you like to see what is born?

If you examine how many variations of Shakespeare’s plays you’ve seen – it’s the same thing. I think I’ve seen at least eight versions of The Tempest, in an array of venues from community centre, in-the-round, to Theatre Royal proscenium arch (one minimalist, one full set).

I could see how difficult it would be for any film-maker to show the whole of Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale in one movie, so enjoyed what was portrayed in the film without harping back to the book. I did the same with The Lovely Bones and I loved the adaptation of Time Traveller’s Wife.  Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter movies, to me, were separate entities from the books.

And, look at what’s been done to Superman; it’s been re-written as Smallville. I love it, but also see great opportunities for young actors; it’s fabulous and entertaining fantasy – those of us who were brought up reading the comics in the 50s 60s and earlier, are interested (I assume a lot here) to find out where it goes.

I would love to see what each new director saw in my work, and would watch their presentations with great interest. Distance; you need that to write and survive on many levels of the creative world and we must set our work on its trembling legs to stagger into adventure.

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