Book To Movie
Michael Pye writes of his experience seeing his book turned into a Hollywood movie, namely Taking Lives.
The whole enormous document [Pye’s contract] now goes off to the lawyers. They pad through, at their expensive leisure. There’s a clause which sells everything “throughout the universe”. I say we ought to reserve Alpha Centauri, you never know. My lawyers have no sense of humour, which is fine because I couldn’t possibly afford the time it would take them to laugh. But they do see one joke I have a share of the film’s net profits. “I could lawyer it,” the lawyer says, “but would you lawyer a lottery ticket?”
And now I wonder: what the hell have I done?
You understand that intellectually, in the broad and inhuman view of things, I perfectly understand that a book and a movie are much like an oak tree and a Porsche. They are both lovely, and they are not the same thing. Imagine for a moment what Boileau and Narcejac, authors of a potboiler called La Cite des Morts, thought when they first saw the obsessive, romantic, alarming Vertigo which Hitchcock based on their novel. Imagine what EM Forster would have made of all the sofas that co-star in the Merchant-Ivory versions of his books.
Read Pye’s humorous take here. I actually saw Taking Lives, and thought it was bearable up until the last third of the movie–much the same as most other thrillers these days.