How to Adapt a Story to Film

 There’s a cool, third-hand anecdote from an interview with Roger Avary (the writer of Pulp Fiction, Resevoir Dogs, and the upcomiong Beowulf) on Ain’t It Cool News (so it must be reputable) that, on one hand, hurts the geeky collector in me and on the other hand cleanly expresses how I feel movies should be adapted:

John Milius once told me a story that went something like this (and I’m doing my best to paraphrase here): Stanley Kubrick called him up one day, wanting some advice on buying “the best handgun ever produced.” Obviously, Milius is the guy you call when you want to buy a gun. His one requirement was that the weapon must have “never been fired.” Milius thought about it, and told him that it would be a Colt .45 Special produced in 1942. He then warned Kubrick that to find this particular handgun in mint condition would be nearly impossible. “Money is no object!” Kubrick told him. Months passed and eventually Kubrick received a call from Milius: “Stanley,” he told him, “I found the gun. Not only has it never been fired, but it’s in the original box!” Kubrick was delighted, money changed hands, and the gun was shipped to England, where Kubrick lived. A few months later, Milius calls Kubrick to ask “How did you like the gun?” To which Kubrick responded, “Oh! I love it! I re-bored the barrel and realigned the bead, swapped out the Mahogany handle for Mother of Pearl, changed out the hammer, and swapped out the pins.” Milius was aghast, “You’ve — you’ve — you’ve destroyed it!” To which Kubrick responded “NO! I MADE IT BETTER!”

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