10 Unfilmable Books That Would Make Great Films
Thesheer amount of Hollywood films which started life as books or short stories is absolutely staggering. Even the onset of CGI, HD and Jason Statham has done nothing to alter the extent of cross-medium borrowing, basing and plain old adapting. Indeed, Some of Hollywoods most memorable offerings ;-Gone with the Wind, Jaws, The Godfather, The English Patient, The Shining, Schindlers List- are actually great improvement upon the original novels. But is there a certain type of book which lends itself to adaptation? And, by extension, are some books inherently unfilmable? What of those books so firmly rooted in their medium that any adaptation would feel reckless, heretical even? What of those mischievous, unreliable narrators that some novels use? What of those wallowing, nebulous inner monologues? How to handle those broken streams of consciousness? How to convey all those invisible, cerebral themes? In short, the challenges of adaptation are just as numerous as those any original, new screenplay provide. Should an adaptation be as truthful to the novel as possible and risk being a second-rate version? Or should it take the liberty to enlist new characters and plot lines to help tell the story in the new medium, thereby risking outcry from the novels mouth-foaming fans? For film adaptations detractors, a central issue is often raised; how can a film evoke the atmosphere or the sheer reading experience of the book? Even if the material is handled well, isnt the spirit of the book always bastardized into a medium it was never conceived as? But for adaptations proponents, there is always that buzz around the news of the latest adaptation. Who will star? Who will direct? Are they serious! That book is unfilmable! And given the recent ambitions of Hollywood, is any novel safe to be considered unfilmable anymore? The Road, Cloud Atlas, Life of Pi, The Great Gatsby-surely none of these were leading contenders for film adaptations. How did Naked Lunch ever get sanctioned? Even Marcel Prousts la recherche du temps perdu has made it to French television screens. Wasnt American Pyscho meant to be unfilmable? All those private sketches of thought dotted around a non- plot with neither thread nor purpose? I mean, Patrick Bateman talked about clothes for a quarter of the entire novel and yet Christian Bale did a great job with the character. Still, the hunt for the one absolute version of the silver screen compared to the myriad versions of the readers imaginations has brought mixed results in Hollywoods rich legacy of adaptation. But the results are never less than interesting, even if only to reveal the shortcomings of the process of crossing mediums. With this in mind, here are ten novels, from the hallowed to the untouchable, which may or may not come to the silver screens but, if they did, would warrant an extreme ambition on the part of Hollywood.