Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ian McEwan/ATONEMENT movie

I only just finished reading this book, and what fortuitous timing, for the bastards are bringing out a movie (thanks for the heads up, Froog).

And I'm not angry about casting or anything--Kiera Knightley's perfect for Cecelia, and everyone else LOOKS spot on (a lot of big names, btw). Also, it's the delightful Mr. Wright who directed the 2005 Pride & Prejudice (an awesome movie...and I'm willing to take this argument outside).

And it's not that I'm against a Hollywood movie--I will probably watch it and enjoy it. But imagine how lucky I am timing-wise: if I hadn't already read the book and had accidentally seen a preview, the entire plot might have been given away to me!! Thereby ruining the entire reading process, and making this one more book I would never read and enjoy (I might read it, although that always feels cheap AFTER seeing a movie, but certainly it wouldn't be as enjoyable a reading experience as it would have been BEFORE).

This happened, to a degree, with Kite Runner--I accidentally saw a movie preview before I go a chance to read the book. And that preview gives away a lot--including a revelation that doesn't come until about 2/3 of the way through the book. I found myself reading Kite Runner while waiting for the inevitable. I really wish I hadn't seen the preview. I wonder how much more powerful the book would have been?

You have to wonder how the authors feel about this. They are in a rather difficult position--their book, no matter how famous it is, will only make them a certain amount in royalties over its whole lifetime. This amount is easily eclipsed (and in most cases exponentially) by a studio option fee. So it's a tough call--take the money, not to mention the fame and the recognition for your story that you'll never get through print media alone? Or insist on not selling out, and, perhaps, see your book die in its infancy?

Tough, tough, tough.


angelle said...

Hmm, I remember reading about Atonement coming out as movie. I might have even blogged about it somewhere. That's why I wanted to read it. I guess I should give it a good go before the movie comes out then. And keep the trailers away from me. That's even worse than a book review that gives it away!

Well, the thing is about Kite Runner and Atonement though - Kite Runner is a runaway hit. I'd hardly call the success his book enjoys "dying in infancy". So I think he's okay there. As for Atonement, I sorta feel like Ian McEwan enjoys a good amount of success anyway, so what does he care, but also, his books seem to be enjoyed more by the bookishly inclined, as opposed a mass audience (maybe this is just America though, maybe the Brits all love him), so if anything, this may bring his book to the masses, who may want to pick it up afterwards if they like the story. Who knows... all I know is that if (when!) I [ever] publish a novel, and someone wants to option it for film rights, I will NOT consider that selling out. Hehehe.

Froog said...

I suspect in most cases there's an optimum timing for release of a movie version - at the point where the initial buzz about a book has blown over, and sales are tailing off. 2 or 3 years after publication, it's only a few lazy arses like me (and you?) who haven't got around to reading the book yet. 4 or 5 years would be even safer. But occasionally you get Hollywood jumping in really quickly. When did Kite Runner come out?

Froog said...

And I take it you are still working on my challenge to come up with a suitable publishing codeword for movie-prompted late-adopters (and book jacket snobs) like myself.

moonrat said...

any suggestions?

writtenwyrdd said...

In my case, I'd be happy to take the money and let them create an abortion out of it for movie-going audiences. Money whore, that's me.

And it doesn't bother me to have the events spoiled for a book. Heck, half the time I peek at the ending,then I read, curious to see how they got there.

Bernita said...

I'm with Written.
No back of the hand pressed against the forehead for me.