Writers who tackle screen adaptations from literature are a brave sort. To begin with, you have the difficulties of translating one form to another. And as if that weren’t enough, there are expectations of fidelity to the “original” that must be reconciled with the screenwriter’s need to make it his or her own. Inevitably, the final film will be relentlessly scrutinized, hailed as brilliant, deconstructed, start bar brawls, or worse, discarded with the casually lobbed, “It was ok, but the book was better.” All of which raises questions about how complex characters and themes are created in both. We’ve asked a group of novelists and screenwriters to reflect on the nature of film and literature and unravel the mysteries of adaptation. What is their process? Why do some works enjoy healthy transformations, while others (sometimes masterpieces) falter?
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