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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

question of the day: What’s the most unfilmmable book you can think of, and who could film it?

Sci Fi Wire posted an intriguing piece this week about “7 ‘unfilmable’ sci-fi books — and the filmmakers who could adapt them”:

Watchmen, The Lord of the Rings: These are books that were commonly thought to be impossible to adapt to the big screen. That is, until a filmmaker such as Zack Snyder or Peter Jackson found the keys to unlock them.

Whatever you may think of the final results, the fact is that Snyder and Jackson succeeded in translating the books to film. And that got us thinking about other great works of SF literature that are supposedly unfilmable—and how they might be successfully adapted, and by whom.

It’s a heady list. The following novels have captured the imaginations of generations of readers, but have so far been given a wide berth by filmmakers. We examine what makes these greats hard to shoot, and who out there in the dream factory actually has the kind of (dare we say it?) Snyder-ian vision to get the job done.

If you’re a fan of SF, the whole piece is worth a read. But even if you’re not, this question is worth considering:

What’s the most unfilmmable book you can think of, and who could film it?

It doesn’t have to be science fiction, of course. And you don’t even have to be serious here: Have some fun.

My answer: The New York City phone book. We movie fans often talk about how willing we’d be to see our favorite actors read the phone book, so how about it? Martin Scorsese would direct, of course. Or Woody Allen.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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