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The Book Thief: Screenwriter Talks Studio Changes

World War Drama had to be More Family-Friendly

The film adaptation of the novel The Book Thief by Australian author Marcus Zusak has already been released in most territories theatrically so it's probably not that risky anymore for screenwriter Michael Petroni to voice some criticism he has for the final product.

The film tells the novel's story of a young girl that befriends a Jew during WWII who is hidden from the Nazis by her foster-parents. The reviews and success at the box office were rather disappointing for everyone involved since they felt that the film was too slight. That prompted Petroni to speak out:

Michael Petroni:My major disappointment with the rewrites was that they took out most of the magic realism that features in the book [...] Fox wanted a film that would appeal to families, not just adults, and Brian wanted to tell more of a straight, dramatic tale.

So, the complex dramaturgy was exchanged for more mass appeal. For example, the story is narrated by Death in the novel while that isn't that obvious in the film. But Petroni adds that this doesn't make it a bad movie. He's still proud of it and is happy with positive reactions that are out there, too. Still, this is one further example of how the film adaptation of a book misses out on some things that made the novel successful and the film not so much.

 

Release: Mar 16, 2014 - Author: Bob - Translator: Mike Lowrey - Source: IF

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