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George R.R. Martin takes aim at Hollywood execs who don't honour source material

"No matter how major a writer it is, no matter how great the book, there always seems to be someone on hand who thinks he can do better".

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George R.R. Martin has been one of the most vocal supporters of keeping film and TV adaptations of books and other written works as faithful as possible, as the famed author has previously come after Hollywood executives who feel the need to change elements and storylines to suit their own project. Martin is back at it and continuing to campaign for honourable adaptations.

In his latest blog post, Martin states: "Everywhere you look, there are more screenwriters and producers eager to take great stories and "make them their own." It does not seem to matter whether the source material was written by Stan Lee, Charles Dickens, Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, Ursula K. Le Guin, J.R.R. Tolkien, Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, Jane Austen, or... well, anyone. No matter how major a writer it is, no matter how great the book, there always seems to be someone on hand who thinks he can do better, eager to take the story and "improve" on it. "The book is the book, the film is the film," they will tell you, as if they were saying something profound. Then they make the story their own.

"They never make it better, though. Nine hundred ninety-nine times out of a thousand, they make it worse."

Martin then goes ahead and points at FX's Shogun as a prime example of an honourable and well-done adaptation, with him saying, "The new SHOGUN is superb. Better than Chamberlain's version, you ask? Hmmm, I don't know. I have not watched the 1980 miniseries since, well, 1980. That one was great too. The fascinating thing is that while the old and new versions have some significant differences — the subtitles that make the Japanese dialogue intelligible to English speaking viewers being the biggest — they are both faithful to the Clavell novel in their own way. I think the author would have been pleased. Both old and new screenwriters did honor to the source material, and gave us terrific adaptations, resisting the impulse to "make it their own.""

Do you agree with Martin's stance on adaptations?

George R.R. Martin takes aim at Hollywood execs who don't honour source material


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