Writers in Movies: The New York Times gets into the act

Last Sunday’s Book Review had a pair of essays on the topic “Why is it so hard to capture the writer’s life on film?”  This a question that seems easy enough to answer.  Thomas Mallon captures it like this:

Because no one wants to watch somebody typing, Hollywood often makes movies about writers who stop writing. It’s easier, and more entertaining, to show them being Technicolorfully destroyed by fame or drink or premature success.

And he brings up one of my favorite writer’s movies, Wonder Boys:

The hard part is always trying to show writers doing what they actually do. The Michael Douglas character occasionally sits at his Selectric wearing a woman’s bathrobe, like a pitcher’s lucky underwear, trying to summon more phrases for his already overlong, inert manuscript.

It seems a bit odd that there are so many movies about people whose lives are so fundamentally boring.  My guess — and it’s only a guess, mind you — is that this is because many movies are written by writers.  Anyway, these essays are pretty good, and they provide me with several additions to my list of writerly movies to watch (or re-watch):

Barton Fink
Deconstructing Harry
The Hours
Beloved Infidel

And, in particular, Bright Star, which I’ll blog about next.

3 thoughts on “Writers in Movies: The New York Times gets into the act

  1. There was a quote I particularly liked. A producer, in the midst of firing F. Scott Fitzgerald, told him: ” Scott you write wonderful prose but we can’t film adjectives.”


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