Sunday, July 13, 2008
Screwtape: The Movie...?!
In February of last year, Walden Media announced that it would be releasing a film adaptation of C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters. Douglas Gresham (Lewis’s “stepson”) will be producing the film. As exciting as this sounds, I have no idea how they are planning on making this adaptation. I don’t think Walden Media really knows either! In April 2008, the website, “The High Calling”, had an interview with Walden Media President, Michael Flaherty. This is—I think—the latest news on the subject.
High Calling: Can you give any news about when Screwtape or Dawn Treader will come out?
Michael Flaherty: The first time I spoke with you, I had just received the first draft of Dawn Treader. Literally as we were speaking it was there on my desk. I hadn’t even opened it up yet. I couldn’t wait to read it, though, because Eustace is one of my favorite characters.
Dawn Treader is moving very well. Michael Apted, who directed Amazing Grace, is directing it. He also directed Coal Miner’s Daughter and a bunch of others. He’s a great director. He’s the president of the Directors Guild.
Screwtape on the other hand is just a really tricky adaptation.
HC: I think a big part of being faithful to that work is keeping it dark in a way that's probably going to bother some people. I don't know how that works with movie profitability, but Screwtape always takes the approach of the demons. They have to be the heroes—even if they're tragic heroes—for it to be faithful to what Lewis did.
MF: We're trying to find that balance between the comedy and the stakes. We’re working hard on the script. One of the questions we're asking is how do you show the real transformation that happens inside a person.
HC: Screwtape keeps encouraging the patient to go through the motions in his daily life and work.
MF: You just nailed the entire paradox of this project. The book is so clever, because Screwtape is saying things like, "Have them write the check out to Unicef." Just have him writing, saying, "Oh boy, this is going to hurt." It goes back to that great Corinthians passage, you can do all of these things, but if you do them without love, it's worthless. We're trying to figure out how to illustrate that. What I love about Screwtape, what I love about the Gospel is all this external behavioural stuff that too often people confuse as central to our faith, is just an element of it. What really matters is the outpouring of love and the reflection of love.