The National Theatre alerted us to an interview with Philip Pullman in today's Times. You can try to read it here, but some people get error messages saying they have to be subscribers, so we've pulled some of the more interesting quotes out and put them online here. Pullman talks about the stage and movie adaptations, and there is a brief mention of The Book of Dust that we didn't know before… Read More.
The following are a few quotes from the interview with Philip Pullman in Oct. 27th's edition of The Times that we thought were the most interesting. (The article was written by Erica Wagner, and was entitled 'Welcome to my Worlds').
On the Film and Stage Versions
“There will be films, too: Tom Stoppard has just finished the script of the first book. Stoppard, Pullman tells me as we sit in his cosy study, chose not to see what Wright had done. â€œIâ€™m the only one who has seen both scripts,â€ Pullman says, with just a hint of a cat-thatâ€™s-got-the-cream smile. But Pullmanâ€™s own involvement with the stage show has been limited – despite (or perhaps, because of) his early theatrical bent: one of his pleasures as a teacher was the writing, producing and directing of school plays: he was a veritable one-man-band in this regard. Not that there arenâ€™t any regrets: â€œOf course I wanted to be involved,â€ he says with a laugh. â€œI wanted to play all the parts. I wanted to jump up and show them how to stand and where to go and what to do. I wanted to design the sets and write the music, of course I did.â€ It was his admiration and respect for â€œthe two Nicholasesâ€, as he calls them, that enabled him to keep his distance. â€œOf course, when you take something of that size and condense it down to six hours, you lose quite a lot,â€ he says. â€œBut Nicholas Wright has reshaped and rethought the whole story in theatrical terms, and done it very well. The things that are absolutely essential are there.â€
“'Cinema is a totalitarian experience,â€ he concedes. â€œYou are dominated by the cinema: by the directorâ€™s timing, the cuts he chooses, where the camera moves. Then thereâ€™s the disappointment you almost always feel when you see a film of a book: you know she doesnâ€™t look like that, or he wouldnâ€™t have worn those clothes, and oh, theyâ€™ve changed the ending. So itâ€™s a different kind of experience.'”
About Reading & Books
“In a novel, writer and reader collaborate to create; in Lyra and the Birds, Lyra learns that things are not always what they seem. â€œLyra and the Birds is about learning to read a little more clearly,â€ Pullman says. â€œReading is a kind of democracy. We canâ€™t create the meaning on our own, the book canâ€™t create the meaning. We have to negotiate with the book. Thereâ€™s no other way that reading works. Fundamentalism, for example, which insists on a literal truth, is a denial of the very nature of reading.â€ It isnâ€™t surprising that Pullman should pick on the example of fundamentalism; fundamentalists have picked on him, and are at it again, with Rupert Kaye, chief executive of the Association of Christian Teachers, announcing only last week that Pullmanâ€™s â€œblasphemy is shamelessâ€. Itâ€™s true that His Dark Materials contains a savage portrait of a clerical structure, but Pullmanâ€™s beef is with the structures of human authority, not faith as such. Yet there is a kind of fundamentalism in the theatrical or, especially, the filmic realisation of novels.”
“He is hard at work on another fairytale, The Scarecrow and his Servant, and on The Book of Dust, which continues Lyraâ€™s story when sheâ€™s about 16.”
EVENING WITH THE AUTHOR Philip Pullman will be in discussion with the author John Gribbin about the new book The Science of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials at The Times Foyles Writers & Readers Forum: Sunday, December 7 The venue and booking details will be announced in T2.