Respecting the original work
[Post rated 18(UK)/R(US) for ‘strong language’]
During a Q&A following a screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (the videos of which were posted on Blip.TV by director Edgar Wright), Guillermo del Toro talked about how much respect directors and screenwriters need to have for the authors of the works they are adapting. He asks a question of the writer of the Scott Pilgrim books, Bryan Lee O’Malley (11:27):
Guillermo del Toro: “Let me ask you, because having gone through two movies with Mike Mignola [writer of the Hellboy comic books], I know the first time you show the movie, they shit their pants, the authors. I always say that adapting work is like marrying a widow, and you are going to be respectful of the late husband, but at some point, you’re gonna fuck. You have to stop talking about the late husband and say ‘shut the fuck up.’ For you being the dead husband thinking ‘holy fucking shit,’ what was your reaction when you first saw the movie?”
Bryan Lee O’Malley: “[…]That whole Vegan thing, what was I thinking when I wrote that? Seeing it all come to life. It was horrifying.”
Guillermo is telling screenwriters that respect for the original work should only go so far. To adapt properly you need to move on. because you are making a film, not rewriting a book or remaking a comic.
That’s just one bit from three videos from that night that are well worth watching.
Q&A part 1 (25:23)
Q&A part 2 (55:55)