Thursday, September 27, 2007

Putting Precious on screen

In The New York Times, Michael Wines talks to Anthony Minghella about adapting Alexander McCall Smith's novel, The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, for the big screen.
Mr. Minghella, who writes the screenplays for all his films, said he regards himself as much as a screenwriter as a director. But for this movie he teamed with Richard Curtis, who wrote “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” and helped write the screen version of “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” to bring a light touch to the characters. The novel’s fans will recognize the cadence of Botwanan English, with its charming formality and and “ehs” and “izzists?” that punctuate everyday conversation.

But the screenplay is considerably funnier than the book, in a gentle, wry way, and Ms. Rose’s Grace Makutsi, in 1950s eyeglasses and fright-wig hair, takes on a major role as the comic anchor. Mr. Minghella also moves much of the action outdoors, where Botswana’s scenery and charms like a troupe of native dancers can be shown to best effect.

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