IN THE 90s, Oscar couldn’t get enough of Booker. The English Patient, Schindler’s List and The Remains of the Day all proved irresistible to both Booker Prize juries and voters of the Academy Awards
Since then though, the marriage of literary merit and Hollywood emotion hasn’t been quite so harmonious. Stuck in development hell for 15 years, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children finally arrived on screens last November and disappeared soon after, joining AS Byatt’s Possession, Peter Carey’s Oscar and Lucinda and JM Coetzee’s Disgrace as Hollywood flops. Only Ang Lee’s take on Life of Pi has broken the curse.
Current Queen of the Booker Hilary Mantel (who won in both 2009 and 2012 for Wolf Hall and its sequel, Bringing Up The Bodies) is hedging her bets when it comes to adaptations. Ignoring Hollywood entirely, this year will see an RSC dramatisation of both books as well as a six hour mini series produced by the BBC and HBO. It seems some stories outgrow even the big screen.