Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Boyne In The Striped Pyjamas

It’s all going off MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY-shaped for John Boyne right now, folks, but come autumn it’ll be wall-to-wall pee-jays. The movie of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS (John on the Budapest set, right, which we’ve half-inched from his interweb blog yoke) hits an Irish / UK screen near you on September 12, with the Walt Disney Ireland blurb elves ponying up thusly:
Berlin, 1942 – Nine-year-old Bruno (ASA BUTTERFIELD) knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that his father (DAVID THEWLIS) was promoted and he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no-one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel (JACK SCANLON), a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation, as their secret meetings result in a friendship that has startling and devastating consequences. THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS cast includes David Thewlis, Vera Farmiga, Jack Scanlon, Rupert Friend, and Asa Butterfield (The Son of Rambow), who plays Bruno. The film is adapted from John Boyne’s critically acclaimed internationally best-selling novel of the same name by Mark Herman (Little Voices; Hope Springs), who is also the director and executive producer. The film is being produced by David Heyman for Heyday Films (The “Harry Potter” franchise; Taking Lives).
Hurrah! There’s nary a hint of a trailer on the interweb as yet, but John has good news over at his other electronic hidey-hole:
“Scenes from the film adaptation of THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS will be screened at this year’s Hay-on-Wye Literary Festival, followed by a public interview with me and director Mark Herman. Separately, I will also be reading from MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY.”
Make Hay-on-Wye while the sun shines, people …


cfr said...

I have booked this event at Hay (the discussion and not the screening) and will report back after the event.

I wondered if you'd pick up on this Irish author, Dec, as he's not crime fiction per se, so I'll let you off on the delay (LOL)...

What is a crime, is the fact it's taken until now for life and fact (no reflection on the author here re the timing or the fact, but great that he's done it) to point out that Hollywood glamourised Christian as a "full-of-integrity-just-out-of-the-baptism-waters-man-near-your-heart" and painted Captain Bligh as the nasty, vicious and evil presence.

Boyne sought fact in his research and saw another picture, which he relates in his novel. Not completely unheard of, as I discussed this Hay event with an old family friend the other day. She's a (still working) retired (do they ever really?) academic specialist in naval history and she groaned when I mentioned the novel concept vs the history of what has met our screens via Hollywood. She knows what Boyne has now related to the public in his novel and always has. Bligh was not a bastard or evil, but that image suited Hollywood.

Great that Boyne chooses to re-tell the tale, or re-assert the real facts in history, as he does here. Especially for a younger audience who did not grow up watching earlier Hollywood interpretations of this story and lived to see the then (still) pretty Mel Gibson as Christian, with Anthony Hopkins, doing for the Brits as Hollywood expects and demands, in an evil Captain Bligh. (Got a nasty? Send in the Brits.) But that's another story.

"The truth will out." Now, perhaps it is time for the truth of the Bligh and Christian story to flood the mainstream media? I do hope so.

Declan Burke said...

Hi CFR - Ta for the in-depth commentary, it's really appreciated. But I think you'll find we've been supportive of John Boyne all along, not that he needs our support ... just do a search in the engine top left. I'm looking forward to Mutiny on the Bounty ... for John's take on a classic tale. It's due up for my next read, actually ... Although, if you do write a review of it, let me know soonest so I can steal it away for CAP ...! Cheers, Dec