I needed an excuse to put a classic Penguin Book on my blog, and this morning I read about Nicole Kidman remaking The Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. This lead me to thinking about other adaptations of seminal science fiction. A few years ago I heard that Mr.Spielberg was thinking of making a film of The War of the Worlds with the diminutive Tom Cruise, and having recently read the book I thought I would give him some advice about how to do it. I think my letter is behind a radiator in Burbank or somewhere, but the gist of it was that here was a golden opportunity to both make a truly awesome film and also line my pocket as Special Adviser. The trick was to simply follow the book. One world in H.G.Wells' novel is late Victorian England, the other is Mars with terrifying ultra modern destructive power. Put the two together and you have gigantic computer-controlled metal legs crashing down on butcher's boys and grocery shops in Weybridge High Street, Heat Rays scorching-up vicars and melting down Shepperton church. The future would have looked frighteningly authentic, a very literal war of the worlds. Needless to say an English classic novel was rendered down to be yet another great American Idea with no connection to its literary origins.
Derek Birdsall: Birdseye view
2 days ago