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I saw the advertisement for “World War Z” recently, and it looks like a fairly worthwhile film to me. That’s almost definitely old news, and the fact that it’s not really closely related to the book at all might just be slightly less old. But that’s alright, for it still looks like a decent story in its own right, and the original author seems to share that opinion.


There are a lot of worse adaptations out in the world, and some of those actually seem to lend credence to the occasionally hyperbolic lamentations of the creators of the original works. These are generally the ones that take enough from the original to seem credible and do everything else badly. I can see how that can hurt a work’s reputation, and I can understand creators when they say that being involved in the creation of an adaptation is like watching the dismemberment of one’s own child. But I’m inclined to think that the number of situations in which that common analogy is actually a fair one is probably a relatively low one. In a lot of cases, these adaptations don’t involve the murder of a child. The producers aren’t killers. The author’s child isn’t being harmed at all. Instead, the child is an object of envy to the producers. He’s the youth who wins all the football trophies and gets on the honour roll. The producers look at their own offspring, who is plainly a cretinous, slovenly mess, and decide to name him after the golden child. The sanctity of the author’s family is maintained. Meanwhile, the producers, displeased by the futility of their efforts to mould their own son into a reasonable imitation of the author’s, decide to engage in some twisted form of sympathetic magic by throwing money at the author in the hope that it will aid the daft endeavour in which they tenaciously persist.


I seem to recall some momentary tinge of sympathy that I once felt for Anne Rice and others in her situation upon hearing bits of her odyssey with the Tom Cruise vehicle “Interview with the Vampire”. Apparently, she was initially resistant to a number of elements of the adaptation, and the supposed impropriety of the star was foremost among these. Even I’ll admit that I was somewhat bemused when I first saw Tom in that blond hair, and I actually like the film. Actually, I just watched it again a few days ago.

But that’s obviously beside the point.

Anyway, Rice later said that she changed her mind after seeing the film, which apparently convinced her that Cruise was indeed capable of channelling the paler, more cannibalistic version of her husband. That made sense to me. After all, the dude’s a charming actor. But then I was told that she clearly must have been compelled to say that by movie executives with concerns over the potential impact of a negative review by their film’s originator.


And that seemed like a sad thought. An image of a woman in the process of being forced into submission by guys in suits and sunglasses in a dim room.

But I eventually came to realise that the tool of those guys in suits was money. That’s obviously another bit of old news. Anyway, it put a happier note on things.


Copyright © 2011, Jaymes Buckman and David Aaron Cohen. All rights reserved. In a good way.