The Cider House Rules
I rented this again because I’d just read John Irving’s book about the making of it: My Movie Business. It was quite a saga, even longer than the process of making my own movie, Millennium, though while we went through six directors, Irving only had four. There was George Roy Hill, another I can’t recall, then Philip Borsos who, believe it or not, I worked with for a few months on Millennium before that deal fell through. Phil died of leukemia, and the project went to Lasse Hallström. Fourteen years from first draft to the theaters.
John Irving, being who he is, gets a lot more power than just about any screenwriter I can think of except maybe Woody Allen, and Woody’s a hyphenate: writer-director. By that I mean, he gets approval of the director, the casting, and the final cut! Sounds like a formula for having your book filmed very faithfully, right? Well … no, and Irving knows there is no way thick, dense books like his can be filmed without major cutting and compromises. In the book he describes how he goes about combining characters, cutting whole characters, and compressing time. He’s good at it, too, which I find remarkable. I haven’t read the novel, but I feel like I know it pretty well now, and I know that Irving is satisfied that the movie came out about as well as any movie could. Which means he’s realistic. Oh, and I thought it was a damn good movie, too.