Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stage to screen

Plans for a film version of the Pulitzer Prize winning play August: Osage County are starting to come together. Does the recent history of film adaptations of Pulitzer winners offer any guide to how this one will do? (Cinematical)

From the current decade, the only Pulitzer winner to make it to multiplexes so far is Proof (with Gwyneth Paltrow? Remember...?), with Doubt joining it this winter, and August: Osage County, which doesn't have a date set yet, making three. I suspect one reason you don't see as many Pulitzer-winning plays (or even non-winning plays) being adapted anymore is that it's no longer acceptable to make "stagy" films. Audiences want more dynamic action, more movement, more settings than plays offer, so a movie translation either has to change things (which often ruins what made the play good to begin with) or else keep everything the same and deal with complaints that it's "boring" or "un-cinematic."

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