Wednesday, April 13, 2011

literary product placement

The latest bizarro news from Hollywood: Disney is remaking Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, with Jennifer Garner in the lead role. My first reaction is similar to this Telegraph writer's.

I am beginning to wonder if Hollywood has started to see the literature on which they claim to base their films merely as a reverse kind of product placement. Maybe, the thinking goes, if we have the name 'Miss Marple' scattered somewhere in the advertising, we will trick viewers into watching our otherwise unrelated film. This certainly seems to be a trend in crime fiction, with the travesty that was 2009's Sherlock Holmes.

Now, I'm not saying that these movies are bad in themselves. I've heard many good things about the Sherlock Holmes adaptation, even though I'd rather swallow my own tongue than watch it. Quite possibly Jennifer Garner's Miss Marple will be a fun, enjoyable film - if it were not for the fact that as we watch it Dame Agatha Christie will be rolling in her grave.

As the Telegraph writer says, why not 'take Poirot, get him solving crimes on a Greyhound bus as it trundles along the Florida panhandle (who needs the Orient Express?), and have him played by Arnold Schwarzenegger'?

What Hollywood is attempting is literary murder. Please, Hollywood. Create your own classics, if you must. Don't mutilate other people's beloved creations!

(I also have to question who allowed them to do this? Surely the Agatha Christie estate is not so desperate for money? I read just the other day that her books are still bringing in millions.)

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