Sunday, December 22, 2013

Adapting a novel to a film

Last night I saw Saving Mr. Banks and understood completely how protective Mary Travers was of her characters as Walt Disney adapted her book into the wonderful film Mary Poppins.  As she said, the characters in her novel are family.  I feel the same way about the characters in my novel The Conspiracies of Dream,s, and I know how I want the cast to interpret my words, and the cinematographer to film the scenes.  I know how a cast can change the entire tenor of a film.  Do you know that originally Ronald Reagan and Anne Baxter were to star in Casablanca and Shirley Temple and W.C. Fields were the first choice to play Dorothy and the wizard in The Wizard of Oz?  What different films they would be.

The same is true of readers who peruse my book.  I have had about 15 presentations of my novel, and at the end of each talk I ask the attendees what they think the theme of the novel is.  So far, the audience has given me 8 different answers, and while each is valid,  none is the one I have in mind.  Therefore, literature is a two way path:  the writer writes and the reader interprets what he or she will.  Sometimes the reader understands all that the writer intended; sometimes the reader surprises the writer by surmising more than the creator realized he had imparted in his work.  That has happened to me when someone in my audience says something about my book that I did not realize I had implied.  Serendipity!

But the play is not the thing.  So much depends on the cast, the director, the cinematographer, even the music, and especially the publicity, the marketing, and the distribution.

So, I will write away this winter break and who knows?  Perhaps I will finish the script; someone will be interested, and my dream of seeing The Conspiracies of Dreams on the screen will come true.  Will the film be better than the movie?  Perhaps they will both be excellent.  A girl can dream, can't she?