On Bouillon Cubes


“Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.”

– John Le Carre

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One thought on “On Bouillon Cubes

  1. In most instances, I would have to agree, but one has to understand the constraints under which the screenwriter is working – it takes a minute to bring a page of script to the screen, 120 pages of double-spaced screenplay translate to a 2-hour movie. Few patrons have the attention span to sit through much more than two hours of any entertainment. (As proof, consider the 7-hour, “Heaven’s Gate” – Budget: $44 million; Box Office: $3.5 million – or church.)

    I have adapted several books to screenplays myself, and in only two, can I say that at the end, the oxen were still somewhat reminiscent of intact oxen. The craft is not without its limitations.

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