Friday, August 10, 2007

Adapting Atonement

On The Guardian Film Blog, Christopher Hampton explains how he went about adapting Ian McEwan's novel Atonement for the big screen.
In the end I think we managed to stay true to McEwan's original vision. If anything, I tend to get fired for being too faithful to the novels that I adapt. So I'm in the camp that says that you should choose books that you love and then honour them. I learned this when I was starting out in the 1960s by reading Harold Pinter's screenplays. The better the book, the more faithful he was when adapting it.

There is an old maxim that says that it is easy to make a bad book into a good film, but that it's difficult to do the same with a good book. I'm very opposed to that argument; I don't see why it should be the case. What I would say is that a higher quality of book forces you to make a higher quality of film. That much is obvious; the rest is a mystery.
Atonement trailer

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