How many times have you seen a film based on a book and thought "the book was way better"? Pretty much every time, right? I think part of that is the challenge faced by screenwriters to take a 400 page novel and condense it to 110 pages of film script.
At least they try.....or DO they?
WORLD WAR Z, the great zombie novel by Max Brooks, was the center of a bidding war for the film rights, I got really excited. I loved the book, and even had the opportunity to meet Max once. He signed my copy with "Brett, great shirt! Thanks!" (I had just given him one of THESE.) So, a bidding war for a great novel meant that the folks in Hollywood were really wanting to tell this story! I couldn't wait.
Then I found out who was bidding. On one side you had Brad Pitt's production company. I guess he's ok, but I would never put him in a zombie film. On the other......Leo Dicaprio. A decent actor, but I would NEVER want the "I'm king of the world" guy in a zombie film. ESPECIALLY one by Max Brooks. Sorry. He's just not cool enough.
Fast forward a bit.... Pitt's company won. Fine. At least it's getting made.
HOWEVER....it appears (according to THIS ARTICLE) that Mr. Pitt has decided that the original novel is not a good enough concept for his film, and is allegedly taking the film in an entirely different direction!
Why do film makers do this? Why do they love a book so much that they want to alter the story? How does that work? It doesn't have to be that way, and frequently isn't, so why is it that Pitt's "vision" is so much better than that of Brooks??
I have to wonder how this makes Max feel. He spent a LOT of time creating this work from the sweat of his brain....rewrites, sleepless nights (probably)...getting it exactly the way he wanted it. Then someone comes along, buys it and tears it all apart, in an effort to present their OWN vision for HIS idea. Crazy.
Hopefully it's not too late. Apparently the Brooks/zombie disciples are pissed, and rightly so. Maybe those in control of this film will hear our cries and stop messing with the original story before it turns into an amalgam of aliens, zombies, and Dora the Explorer.
Aim high. Run fast. Write your congressman.