My Movie Business: A Memoir
Four of John Irving's best selling novels have been turned into
major motion pictures, three with his involvement and one with his
permission.MY MOVIE BUSINESS discusses his experiences during the
writing and filming of THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, HOTEL NEW
HAMPSHIRE and to a greater extent the upcoming release of THE CIDER
HOUSE RULES. Simon Birch, an adaptation of OWEN MEANY, is,
significantly, barely mentioned.
GARP starred Robin Williams in his second screen appearance and
garnered Oscar nominations for its co-stars, John Lithgow and Glenn
Close. Irving credits director George Roy Hill's casting and
directing as the chief reason for GARP's success, as he was unhappy
with the screenplay, over which he had little control.
Hill was right in casting Robin Williams as T. S. Garp, Irving
says. "His only noticeable discomfort with the role was that he had
too much body hair to convincingly play Garp as a teenager; hence,
for those scenes, he was waxed. The sounds of Robin screaming from
the trailer, where he was being waxed in preparation for the blow
job scene, are memorable to this day."
He was a little more involved with HOTEL, and his reminiscences
from location shoots with the actors and remarks about whether they
fit his image of the characters are entertaining.
Irving had a great deal of artistic control over the making of THE
CIDER HOUSE RULES, and devotes most of the book to that experience.
The finished movie represents Irving's fifth complete screenplay
written over a ten year span. He discusses the angst of having to
delete entire major characters and subplots in order to compress a
552 page novel into 186 manuscript pages; then watching as major
scenes hit the cutting room floor in final editing. Irving also
relates his research during the writing of the book, with a tribute
to his grandfather, a distinguished obstetrician and Harvard
professor early in the century.
He is happy with the outcome, however, and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES,
starring Michael Caine, Toby McGuire, Kathy Baker and Jane
Alexander, is due for release Thanksgiving weekend of 1999.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 22, 2011