A film director once told Salman Rushdie that all movies made from novels are rubbish. With so many screenplays based on books triumphing at the Oscars this week and Slumdog Millionaire stealing the show, he asks is there such a thing as a good adaptation.
Salman Rushdie in the Guardian:
Adaptation, the process by which one thing develops into another thing, by which one shape or form changes into a different form, is a commonplace artistic activity. Books are turned into plays and films all the time, plays are turned into movies and also sometimes into musicals, movies are turned into Broadway shows and even, by the ugly method known as "novelisation", into books as well. We live in a world of such transformations and metamorphoses. Good movies - Lolita, The Pink Panther - are remade as bad movies; bad movies - The Incredible Hulk, Deep Throat - are remade as even worse movies; British TV comedy series are turned into American TV comedy series, so that The Office becomes a different The Office, and Ricky Gervais turns into Steve Carell, just as, long ago, the British working-class racist Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part turned into the American blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker in All In the Family. British reality programmes are adapted to suit American audiences as well; Pop Idol becomes American Idol when it crosses the Atlantic, Strictly Come Dancing becomes Dancing With the Stars - a programme which, it may interest you to know, invited me to appear on it last season, an invitation I declined.