ADAPTING

They were making a movie version of my favourite book, so I went down to where they were filming it. At the entrance to the studio, I showed my copy of the book to the security guard, and he waved me through. I had some strong ideas on how this movie should be made. I had an awful feeling they were going to try and change the setting, and sure enough, when I walked up to the set, I saw that Victorian England had been changed to a West Coast American high school. The two main characters, a cobbler and a midwife respectively, had been turned into a quarterback and a cheerleader. Their emotional journey of love and redemption had also transmuted—now the themes seemed mainly to be getting laid and partying down. I stormed up to the director and demanded an explanation. I waved my dog-eared copy of the book in his face, explained how much it meant to me, how these simple dots of ink on bound paper had changed my life, how this cinematic monstrosity would ruin it forever. He stood, and listened intently to me, as around him production stopped. The actors and the stage hands and the assistants were all silent, listening to what I had to say. When the director offered me a walk-on part, I was so elated that I dropped the book on the stage floor and forgot about it. I didn’t worry though. When I was famous, I’d buy another.

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