That is, that one day MZD will sell the film rights to HoL and, in a best-case scenario, will be intimately involved in the making of the film.
Most everyone who has wondered aloud on this forum about whether/when the novel will be filmed already knows of MZD's decision not to allow a film version of the novel, but to accept the wishes of the author whose work they profess to admire is something they seem unwilling to do. In the thread "screenplay?" some say, in effect, "Well, what if MZD were directing/writing/behind the camera/allowed to choose the menu for the caterers? Would THAT be enough to change his mind? Huh? Would it?" One post-er, in fact, speculates that MZD is employing this refusal as a means of raising interest in making the film, if not a way of increasing the bids for the purchase of the rights. It's strange, and certainly ironic: these post-ers obviously mean no offense with their nascent screenplays and treatments of the novel; they wish to honor, via another medium, the integrity of the author's creation. But some of those very people assume, if their tone is any indication, that every author has his price, artistic integrity be damned. Or, more darkly, if MZD won't sell out his stated intent for his work, by golly THEY'LL do it for him.
Or maybe THAT is too cynical on my part. Perhaps the oft-stated desire to see HoL turned into a film has its roots in a human preference for the visual over the textual. While I can understand that, and while I sometimes catch myself thinking, while reading certain novels, "Wow--what a great film this would make!" I still have to ask why these post-ers aren't content with MZD's wish not to see HoL filmed.
Ponder this quote from the "screenplay?" thread:
"The story itself has left much to the imagination, which always makes for a more enjoyable movie."
Why doesn't leaving much to the imagination make for a more enjoyable NOVEL? Why not see THAT as valuable in and of itself, and leave it be? Is a novel merely a kind of textual sneak preview for a Major Motion Picture? The thing about text is that, no matter how specifically detailed it is, there's always space that the thoughtful reader gets to fill in: the look of a room, the sound of a voice, the colors of the landscape, etc. The reader gets to assist in the realizing of the author's work (and, as I have suggested elsewhere, with this novel we get to do even more than we get to do with most other novels: we actually get to help write it). The thing about film, though, is that, no matter how "good" it is, it has already been envisioned for us. What film leaves to the imagination is visually hidden or unnarrated: fade-outs as lovers kiss; the sudden passage of days/weeks/years as indicated by jump cuts; etc. As viewers, we're not allowed imaginative play with the film-as-text. We know what people, interiors, landscapes look like. And even worse: if we should return to the novel version, many if not most viewers will find images from the film intruding into their reading.
In short, I'm puzzled by the recurrence of this "I-wish-this-were-a-movie" talk. It's as though those who raise it feel that their experience of the novel, if not the novel itself, is somehow deficient, that something besides the answers to questions of parentage and authorship of TNR is missing. I'd argue, though, that a film version would be seem even more deficient, too confined and limiting. It would not allow us to play the game of "always" (or was that "hallways"?).
[ August 20, 2003: Message edited by: John B. ]