Issue: October 2013 - Books on Film

The new flesh is alive and well: David Cronenberg at TIFF

In 1983, TIFF held their first David Cronenberg retrospective. It was during a hugely successful year for him, following hot on the heels of his media-horror shocker Videodrome and anticipating his first American production, the Stephen King adaptation The Dead Zone. At the age of 40, Cronenberg was already working at the peak of his talents, and he was only getting started. Now, TIFF revisits his body of work for an even bigger retrospective, including every feature and a handful of shorts spanning over 40 years, as part of The Cronenberg Project, a massive multiplatform celebration that includes a...

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Sculpting Ender’s Game: Gavin Hood on directing and adaptation

In 1985 Orson Scott Card published his first novel, “Ender’s Game”, which quickly became one of the most beloved science fiction books of all time. The story of mankind looking to defeat an alien enemy at all costs and therefore recruiting children to be trained almost from birth to be calculating warriors struck a chord with readers and predicted with chilling accuracy the way in which we would interact with technology in decades to come. Given the success of the novel, Hollywood obviously wanted a piece and the book was optioned by Warner Bros. for a major motion picture...

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Talking Free Birds with director Jimmy Hayward

Landing right between the American and Canadian iterations of Thanksgiving is Free Birds, a 3D animated film about a few turkeys who are determined to change the holiday by getting turkey off the menu for good. The film, which hits theaters on November 1, touts a hilarious cast featuring the likes of Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, and Amy Poehler. Owen Wilson voices Reggie, a turkey who is the outcast of his flock for seeing what the rest don’t: that Thanksgiving is bad news for their kind. After being chosen as the ‘pardoned turkey’ by the President, Reggie is whisked...

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Not just for novels: short story film adaptations

When adapting literature into film, we most often start with an 800 page novel and reduce it into a 100 page script. A screenwriter must carefully consider what scenes and aspects to preserve, what details must be sacrificed, and what parts of the literary work simply will not translate on screen. Carelessness or a miscalculation could result in a displeasing simplification of a great novel (or “butchering” as angry fans will call it), but the bottom line in the movie business is the question of whether it will lead to poor box office performance and sales. These are common...

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Ginger Snaps: the boundless mystery of the Canadian teen wolf queen

“Women remain—even to women—a boundless frontier of unsolved but beguiling mysteries, every one,” Ginger Snaps screenwriter Karen Walton said in an interview with Pajiba. Walton identifies the very problem with analyzing Ginger Snaps. People place Ginger Snaps in the context of feminist horror – and rightfully so. Ginger Fitzgerald’s transformation into a monster serves as an exaggerated motif for her menarche. However, I argue that the movie is so much more than a story about a girl getting her period and noticing hair that wasn’t there before. Ginger Snaps, without its inevitable sequels, is the very boundless and mysterious...

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TFS Essentials: Jack Ketchum

Halloween is upon us and so is the season of vampires, werewolves, ghosts, zombies, and good old-fashioned boogeymen, but Jack Ketchum is uninterested in these fantastical shenanigans, preferring to explore the darkest recesses of everyday human evil, the kind of things that could happen right in your own neigbourhood. He’s been writing novels for over 30 years and has been lauded at every turn by Stephen King as one of the best contemporary American horror writers. Yet only recently has any of his work been adapted for the screen, courtesy of a handful of up-and-coming indie directors, themselves rabid...

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If we ran Hollywood: we cast our favourite books

All month we’ve talked about the choices made by screenwriters and directors when adapting some of our favourite books, but now it’s our turn. The TFS staff has dug into our fantasy casting closets and come out with some dynamite ideas for adaptations of books that are close to our hearts. If we ran Hollywood, this is who we would cast.   Ada // “The Ecstasy Club” by Douglas Rushkoff Keeping up my reputation as a purveyor of questionable taste…my favourite book is a fictional work by media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, entitled “The Ecstasy Club”. A group of young...

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