Yes, This Makes Sense. Tom Stoppard Off His Dark Materials.

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
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This just may be the worst decision a film studio has made all year. Tom Stoppard, you know the genius who's won just about every writing award known to man because he is - as mentioned above - a flat out genius, has reportedly been replaced as the screen writer for His Dark Materials by Chris Weitz. You know. The guy who directed American Pie.

You dumped an Oscar winner for American Pie boy? On an adaptation that most people thought couldn't be done thanks to the level of complexity? Slap yourselves. Hard.

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crazybeeNovember 23, 2004 11:43 PM

I dunno...some of the news on this site is just biased opinions and whining. Ever heard the phrase "Wait and see?"

Todd BrownNovember 24, 2004 12:14 AM

Who knows ... Weitz may produce something competent but there's no way he writes at the level Stoppard is capable of. The man's won award after award after award for both stage and screen work. He's one of the most important and significant living playwrites in the world. He's very, very picky about what he gets involved with in the film world and when you get a script from him that the source author puts a great big stamp of approval on you don't just toss it aside ... ever see Brazil? Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead? Those are Stoppard scripts ... he won the Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, which was a fine piece of mainstream oriented writing.

As for the Weitz adaptation of About a Boy, I love Nick Hornby - have everything the man's ever written - and I gotta say there's not a whole lot of adaptation required. He's very dialogue based and very straightforward ... you can pretty much carry his stuff over word for word from the books. That's not the case with His Dark Materials. Will he rise to the challenge? Maybe, but he hasn't done anything yet to suggest that he can and I just think it's a horribly bad decision to toss aside something you know is good because you have a mid-tier director who insists on writing his own scripts ...

juanNovember 24, 2004 8:36 AM

All those awards don't make Stoppard infallible, just check his filmography. And how many times have we seen perfectly competent filmmaker screw up "easy" projects like About A Boy? Having tried my hands at adaptation, I respect anyone who knows when to keep their hands off when their handprints aren't needed.

If Weitz have a different interpretation of the source material, then he has to go with his guts because he is the director, he has to make something he believes in at the end of the day. If that means tossing Stoppard's script, so be it. Since none of us have read that script, we can't say it's good just because Stoppatd has won x number of awards. Awards mean jack when you sit in front of a desk. As for the approval of the source author. There are reasons novelists don't often make good screenwriters. Novels and screenplays are different beasts that few can master at the same time.

Wasn't Peter Jackson a mid-tier director too before making LOTR ?

If it was someone with a proven record of screwups like Paul W.S. Anderson, then I will be with you on this one. But Weitz has a half decent and a very good film under his belt, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt until the first trailer hits.