Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Kite Runner as a movie is a pretty good bet though.

More book movie news:

This was an interesting little article about a guy who actually made all the kites for the upcoming movie version of Kite Runner. It struck me, by the way, how they only paid him $30 a day for his kites. I'm sure that's more money than most people there make in a day, but still. Big budget film that is sure to make it big in box office sales? I think they could afford to pay him a little more for his crazy kites, no? Ah, but then this is where it becomes clear to me I'm not a business person (aside: I thought about this today while reading the "Industrial Magnate" chapter from Women in Love, which I will discuss again sometime today).

Anyway, I was having this convo with Albert a few days ago, about why so many books are being turned into movies these days. Every bestselling novel seems to have movie rights already, and they not only do well for ticket sales, they reinvigorate book sales too - fancy versions of books with new movie poster covers (I hate when they do that, by the way, I like the original cover art in books). It makes sense, I guess, especially these days when all you hear about is how no one goes to the movies anymore (um at $11 a ticket, they wonder why?) and how nothing is considered "blockbuster" anymore. The thing about bestselling books is that it requires SO LITTLE publicity to get it hyped up. All you have to do is put it out there that the movie EXISTS and all the faithful readers will go flocking to it, dragging their non-literary friends with them (and maybe they in turn will go back and buy the book). I mean, Kite Runner the movie may suck shit, but it won't matter to me, because you know I'll still see if opening weekend, just because I loved the book. In fact, I'll probably eagerly anticipate its opening night, the date highlighted in my outlook calendar with a big magenta reminder. (Um, no, that's not what I did for Memoirs of a Geisha, not at all...). And there will be millions of people out there like me. Who will see the movie regardless of whether the movie itself is good or not. The movie will succeed based purely off of the book's existing fan base. Smart move, Hollywood.

That being said, I am looking forward to Kite Runner, though I hope they cut some crap from the middle out, and stick to the good stuff. I'd hate to be taken along for an entire ride a la The Namesake (which, while good, was a little too faithful in my opinion). I think the book has all the elements of a potentially great movie - exotic place, exotic people, exotic practice (did anyone know that people flew kites like that before this book??), and a story of class tensions, friendship betrayed, family secrets and heart break? Not to mention, I imagine a sweeping landscape. Now this is something I think is perfectly suited to cinema.

I agree with Moonrat that as part of the process, a film should take the material from the book and own it. Reinvent it creatively, so to speak. Although, I must say, I'm one of those people who watches a movie and gets pissed when they change things completely. But I guess as an aspiring writer (and a reader), I'd hope the film would retain the spirit of the book, the major themes of the book. I think this is something that can be easily done with Kite Runner but I feel like would require more skill and delicacy with a book as stylistic and simple as The Road. As a faithful traditionalist and die-hard fan of the printed text, I get very defensive of my books. I'd also hate for some crappy film to be made that will make the mass general public think the book is exactly the same, when it's not.

Okay, so challenge here for Mr. Director of Kite Runner - make sure I love the movie nearly as much as I love the book and don't butcher it please. Also, can you please pay your kite man a little more than minimum wage for his designer kites?!!?!

P.S. I think I can only think of one book turned movie that transformed an eh book into a cinematic masterpiece, and that would have to be The Godfather. While the book is fun, and a great summer beach read, that movie is incredible. Kudos to anyone who can take raw material and transform it like that.

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