Backstage: Directors turn to teen fiction for inspiration


Academy Award-winning film director Kevin Macdonald has attacked literary fiction for being too “dull” and self-involved and says Young Adult fiction provides much richer material for movie-makers.

“There is something very interesting going on in Young Adult fiction, as they call it. I think traditional literary fiction for adults is pretty dull these days and kind of in a dead-end labyrinth,” he told me over the phone this week.

“It’s really just speaking to a self-selecting little group. And what YA books manage to explore is really big ideas. There are a lot of s**t ones but a lot of interesting ones too.”

It’s one of those interesting ones that Macdonald chose to turn into a film: adapting Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now. It tells the story of a teenage New Yorker sent to stay with family in the UK when war breaks out and has since seen its young stars Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland and George MacKay achieve increasing success.

“I think boldness and that ability to talk about really compelling big subjects and stories make them natural fodder for movies,” added the director. “They also make them connect more with an audience, who are looking for good stories.” Macdonald, who won an Oscar in 2000 for his documentary One Day in September, believes that so-called top writers will eventually have to start writing about “bigger ideas”.

“I think you look at most literary fiction and it doesn’t really seem to address the preoccupations of most people,” he said.

“And I don’t just mean talk about tax hikes or immigration, I don’t mean address your preoccupations in that way, I mean address the bigger ideas, yearnings and fears we all have, which is what teen fiction is doing. And I think literary fiction will do that eventually, once it stops being so up its own a**e.”

'How I Live Now' is available on Blu-ray and DVD on 10 February, from Entertainment One

As Bond, you only live once. Or is it twice?

Last week, Dominic Cooper put himself forward as a future James Bond. Now Rupert Evans, his co-star in Fleming, a TV series about the life of 007 author Ian Fleming, has backed his claim.

“Every actor who plays Bond is different,” he tells me. “They seem to somehow reflect their era. Roger Moore was the epitome of the 80s. Dom would be a great Bond. As for myself, time will tell. You only live once. Or is  it twice?”

In the programme, on Sky Atlantic next week, Evans plays Peter Fleming, Ian’s heroic and dashing brother, who sounds almost as fun to play as the spy himself.

“Peter Fleming was the elder, and more successful sibling,” he adds. “You get the sense that Ian modelled James Bond on him as much as his imagination. There was certainly a rivalry. Ian wanted to follow his brother into war, writing and, of course, there were the women!”

Producer thinks big on book adaptation for TV mini-series

Those daunted by the prospect of reading all 834 pages of Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries are in luck: it is set to be adapted as a TV mini-series. The Sunday Star Times in New Zealand reports that rights to the book, written by local author Eleanor Catton, have been bought by British producer Andrew Whitehead, who will, presumably, hope that the programme absorbs viewers in the way that another Kiwi drama Top of the Lake did. And those who did manage to read and love the story set in the 1860s gold rush in New Zealand, will be pleased to hear that Catton is apparently due to retain some control. “Some things I wouldn’t compromise on; it wouldn’t make sense to be filmed anywhere else,” she said recently. Another clause in her contract also apparently stops any characters being killed without her permission.

Model Claudia’s shift to movies

Where do supermodels go career-wise once they hit 40? For Kate Moss it’s an assistant editor role at Vogue, for Naomi Campbell it’s as a judge on a model talent show and for Claudia Schiffer, left, it appears to be a move to film. The German model is to be an executive producer on The Secret Service, made by her husband Matthew Vaughn. According to reports Schiffer, who also runs a clothing label, will “oversee” wardrobe, make-up and interiors.

Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade

Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
    Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

    The end of an era across the continent

    It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
    Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

    'Focus on killing American people'

    Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
    Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

    Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

    The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
    Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

    Same-sex marriage

    As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
    The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

    The Mafia is going freelance

    Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable