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'One Hundred Years of Solitude' was unfilmable. Its writer Gabriel Garcia Márquez said so

Producer Harvey Weinstein claims the Nobel prize-winning author agreed to the project, but there was an unusual catch...

Daniel McCarthy
Sunday 27 April 2014 13:36 BST

Harvey Weinstein, the film producer responsible for such acclaimed films as Shakespeare in Love and Silver Linings Playbook, is a man used to getting his way in the movie business. The Hollywood mogul is certainly not a man to have his celluloid proposals turned down.

But that's exactly what Gabriel Garcia Márquez, who died earlier this month, did to him. Of course, as befits a Nobel prize-winning author, he did it in the most creative and ingenious way. Márquez told Weinstein that if he, and director Giuseppe Tornatore, wanted the rights to One Hundred Years of Solitude they were the men for the job. But there was one catch: "We must film the entire book, but only release one chapter – two minutes long – each year, for 100 years," Weinstein said.

Universally hailed as a major work of literature, no film has ever been made of the book, as the author declined every invitation to sign away the film rights.

Márquez, a long-term critic of US political and cultural imperialism in South America, allowed his book Chronicle of a Death Foretold to be filmed by an Italian production company.

The first filming of one of his novels in Hollywood came in 2007 when the English director Mike Newell made Love in the Time of Cholera. Friends claimed Márquez only agreed to the deal because he had been diagnosed with cancer and was concerned about the future of his family.

Weinstein said he first dealt with the novelist after acquiring the rights to the 1983 film Eréndira, for which Márquez had written the screenplay. Weinstein recalled how he physically shook when he had to phone the writer to tell him the film was being shortened, because a test audience seemed restless during a screening. Márquez told the producer: "If their asses were twitching in the seats, then by all means, we must cut those parts."

Weinsten and Márquez also spent an evening together at William Styron's Martha Vineyard's house one summer during the 1990s. Weinstein was directed towards an end seat at a long table, when Márquez, Styron, Styron's wife, Rose, President Bill Clinton and Carlos Fuentes all walked in. "I couldn't believe it," Weinstein said.

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