Kubrick on Screenwriting



“Writing a screenplay is a very different thing than writing a novel or an original story. A good story is a kind of a miracle, and I think that is the way I would describe Burgess’s achievement with the novel. A Clockwork Orange has a wonderful plot, strong characters and clear philosophy. When you can write a book like that, you’ve really done something. On the other hand, writing the screenplay of the book is much more of a logical process — something between writing and breaking a code. It does not require the inspiration or the invention of the novelist. I’m not saying it’s easy to write a good screenplay. It certainly isn’t, and a lot of fine novels have been ruined in the process.”


Source: http://www.visual-memory.co.uk/amk/doc/interview.aco.html [excerpted from “Kubrick”, by Michel Ciment]


4 thoughts on “Kubrick on Screenwriting

    1. When it comes to adaptations, which is what he’s referring to, I do agree with him. Almost every movie he made was some form of adaptation. But I think original screenplays involve a lot of the inspiration and flare found in novelists and playwrights. What about you?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do agree with him up to a point. But like you, I have to give creativity its due. Logic may give your screenplay a professional, even adroit air but without that ingenious idea it will just not feel personal, only another movie for the crowd. I’m talking about, say , Tarantino. His scripts owe doubtless a trifle more to creativity and inspiration than logic, the way I see it.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Tarantino is an interesting counterpoint, as all of his films apart from 1 were written directly for the screen. (Two if you count his section in Four Rooms.) In my opinion, QT took enough liberties turning Rum Punch into Jackie Brown to qualify as having the inspiration of a novelist. He took a pr-existing story and definitely made it his own. The same goes for The Shawshank Redemption; King’s story is really good, but reading the screenplay you appreciate how great a job Darabont did in adapting it.

    Liked by 1 person

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