A HYPOTHETICAL CONVERSATION BETWEEN AHMET ZAPPA (PRODUCER, WRITER, SON OF FRANK) AND HIS AGENT:
Man, this whole literature thing’s just not going away, huh? We should get in on that. Maybe make a few movies from it. Could we make something good from Downton Abbey
That’s not actually a piece of literature, it’s a TV show.
You’re kidding. Then why do they all talk like that?
Because they’re English? And also, it’s the past.
YES! And people love it! We’re onto something here. We need a piece of literature from the English past.
It’s really more a monument than a piece of literature.
Oh. How about Oliver Twist
? Has anyone ever filmed that? Is it out of copyright? Answer the second question first.
: Several times, actually. The definitive adaptation is probably the David Lean version
Sounds old. Nobody’ll remember it, right? They’re all probably dead by now. Everyone else’ll think we’re being bold and innovative by picking this little, forgotten book.
Well, it also got a straight-ahead adaptation from Roman Polanski
in 2005. And several TV miniseries
. And a hugely popular musical
And an animated Disney version
soundtracked by Billy Joel and Bette Midler stuffed full of anthropomorphised animals. And, weirdly, an animated TV show
stuffed full of different
And a TV talent show
. Then there’s Olivia Twisted
, and I don’t know if that parkour thing
‘s still happening –
Alright, I get it. Any other Dickens we could use?
HA: Dombey and Son
Nah, I hate banjo music. So I guess we forget the literature angle then. What else do people like?
Yeah, they do, don’t th- WAIT A SECOND! Bring back
the literature angle! All those versions of Oliver Twist
: they stop before the good stuff! What happens to Oliver and the Artful Dodger once they grow up? Maybe they… become rivals working on opposite sides of the law? It’s the future Dickens never lived to write!
Actually, Dickens managed to complete Oliver Twist
, it was The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Cram it, Stephen Hawking! I can see it now: Dodge and Twist
. He’s a cop! He’s a crook! But together, they’re… best friends forever? And maybe the Crown Jewels are involved somehow?
I’ll get Sony on the line.