Reflecting on his own experience with Fight Club, its author Chuck Palahniuk (whose latest is the best-selling Choke) told the Express: "The time constraint, I think, is the biggest barrier between books and films. To boil a fat book down into two hours, at most a few dozen scenes, seems impossible to me. I think of those terrible, terrible Reader's Digest condensed books that my grandparents used to have, where they'd strip each book down to nothing but plot and publish five novels combined in a single binding. "If movies could last even half as long as it takes someone to read the book, then maybe they could adapt books better. The trouble now is: How much sitting in the dark can the human butt take? The answer: Bigger butts.
"A successful adaptation should carry the message and mood of the book without cleaning it up for mass consumption. The worst crime is something like Breakfast at Tiffany's, where the book's hooker female lead and homo male lead, two very marginal people, become fresh-faced Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. It's making love into something that can only happen between nice white heteros who end up in bed together. In the film, Capote's great love story about devoted friends is gone.
"I still write by studying F. Scott Fitzgerald, the writer we tend to think of as the first 'cinematic' writer. We both write in tight, limited scenes where physical action and setting aren't overwhelmed by dialogue. It's never my goal to inspire a movie, but to bring exciting, twisted, funny stories to people. Whether it's books or films, the system of delivering those stories is beside the point."
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