David Cronenberg

Tumblr_lyc3h8zRYr1qhwx0oJonathan Penner in the LA Review of Books:

It’s Dangerous to be an Artist

As a young upstart filmmaker I felt that you were not a real filmmaker if you didn’t write your own stuff and it should be original. And that was beyond the French version of the auteur theory which was really meant to rehabilitate the artistic credibility of guys like Howard Hawks and John Ford. The French were saying a director could work within the studio system and still be an artist and that those guys were, even though they didn’t normally write their own stuff. And for years I said, no, no you have to write your own stuff. But then I got involved with Stephen King’s The Dead Zone, and it was more of a studio project, and there were five scripts that had been written, one of them by Stephen King himself, and frankly I didn’t think his script was the best of the five. In fact, I thought that if I did his script people would kill me for betraying his novel. I think what happened is that he just wanted to try something else. He wasn’t interested in just doing the novels, so he changed it quite a lot to the point where it was less like the novel than Jeffrey Boam’s script, which was actually more faithful. So I started to work with Jeffrey Boam, and I started to really enjoy the process of working with other people and on the script, and I thought, well this is interesting ‘cause what it means is, if you mix your blood with other people’s, then you will create something that you wouldn’t have done on your own, but is enough of you that it’s exciting and feels like you. It’s kind of like making children.

Beyond that, frankly, what opened the door for me doing adaptations was realizing that it doesn’t matter where the idea for the movie comes from. For me it’s really just a matter of developing every aspect that you can as an artist. Film art is so complex that it’s very rare to have someone who’s good at every aspect of it.