Playwright Christopher Hampton
Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp
You’d think one requirement for a book being translated into a movie is that it be really well written.
Not necessarily so.
Today on Midmorning Hampton argued that, when looking for a book to adapt for the screen, great writing is one thing you don’t want.
Sometimes you have to be careful of a book that’s really well written, because that’s the one quality that won’t show in a movie. If the prose is beautiful, that’s a novelistic thing, not a dramatic thing, so you look for… the novels that work when they’re translated to theater or to film are novels with a dramatic line. And often a beautifully written book or even a powerful book that will haunt you for years will not work as a movie.
Hampton is in the Twin Cities this week in preparation for an upcoming celebration of his plays at the Guthrie Theater. He’ll be seeing God of Carnage. a play that he translated into English, at the theater tonight.
You can listen to Kerri Miller’s entire conversation with Christopher Hampton by clicking on the audio link below: