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May 12, 2013

Books on the Big Screen

Top authors weigh in on favorite film adaptations


Chuck Palahniuk


His novels “Fight Club” and “Choke” have been adapted into feature films. His latest novel, “Doomed,” (a sequel to “Damned,” about the adventures of a snarky prepubescent who literally goes to hell) comes out in October.

Favorite: “My favorite adaptation is so flawless that people forget it was a book: ‘Rosemary’s Baby.’ It’s endearing and kinetic. Roman Polanski only failed to use one small scene from the book. Originally, Rosemary Woodhouse flees to a mountain cabin, but loneliness overwhelms her and she returns to her husband. That’s exactly the type of scene that doesn’t translate well to film: a character alone in crisis, not speaking and doing no interesting task, and eventually reaching a decision. Polanski was smart to avoid it.”

Least favorite: “Don’t shoot the messenger, here. I strongly disliked the film of ‘Dune.’ The whispery voiceover ‘thoughts’ seem like a terrible device. The only redeeming quality of the film is how buff Sting looks.”

Judy Blume (judyblume.com)

Winner of the 2013 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Prize, which will be presented in June, her books include “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” “Deenie” and “Tiger Eyes,” the latter of which has been made into a film that opens in theaters June 7.

Favorite: “‘A Christmas Story,’ adapted by Jean Shepherd from his book, ‘In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash,’ is wildly funny without a forced moment. Can anyone who’s ever seen it forget the frozen tongue? Would it have worked without Jean Shepherd’s narration? Probably not nearly as well. I watch the movie every few years, but I haven’t re-read the book in ages.”

Bret Easton Ellis (randomhouse.com/kvpa/eastonellis)

His novels “Less Than Zero,” “American Psycho” and “The Rules of Attraction” have all been turned into feature films.

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