Not enough good scripts to go around: Tom StoppardJanuary 22nd, 2012 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS
Jaipur, Jan 22 (IANS) The art of writing good scripts is facing bleak times with not many of them around, says iconic playwright and screenplay writer Tom Stoppard of “Shakespeare in Love” fame.
“I have read so many appalling scripts. There are not enough good scripts to go around. The ability to write a script is different from the idea of a script… The idea for a film is a story-telling art form,” Stoppard told the media in an informal chat Sunday.
The playwright, who is considered one of the pillars of contemporary script writing, was at the Jaipur Literature Festival to speak about adaptations and screenplay.
“They think they will improve scripts before they shoot but many movies are made according to the availability of actors. An awful lot of things creep into the script,” Stoppard said.
The playwright, known for his abstract style, said very few of his plays have been inspired by spur-of-the moment impulses.
“I am not somebody who meets a man or a woman somewhere and feels that it is an incredible character and I must write a play… I don’t think it is a good idea to know too much, It is always better to work from a molecule,” Stoppard said.
The 75-year-old playwright, who fled the then Czechoslovakia with his mother and brother in the face of the Nazis, is known for plays like “Arcadia”, “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” and “The Real Thing” - dramas influenced by abstraction, mathematical chaos and quantum theory.
Stoppard currently has a new muse. “I am engaged in a new area of interest. It is evolutionary biology - not physics. I’ve come back from a literature festival in Galle in Sri Lanka. Richard Dawkins was also there..,” he said.
Stoppard is a radical — he does not believe in awards and endorses the power of television as a more effective tool of political change more than the stage. A television documentary is more likely to change the viewer “next week than a play”.
The playwright, who spent four years in India between 1942 to 1946 as a student in Darjeeling before returning to England, has scripted one play set in India, “Indian Ink”.
“I wrote ‘Indian Ink’ as a radio play, ‘Took Place in a Native Place’ and then adapted it as a stage play, ‘Indian Ink’…I think it was 20 years ago. I wanted to write a place about Felicity Kendal, who grew up in India,” Stoppard said in a rare moment of emotion.
The playwright was linked to Kendal romantically.
Stoppard, who had been haunted by his childhood dreams of India night after night, could connect to the country only in his 40s. “I came to India and went to Darjeeling,” he said.
Stoppard has never ever written an original screenplay. “All my scripts are based on other people’s novels. But I generally consider myself as one who writes for theatre. I don’t see film work as a continuation of writing for theatre. It is more of an interruption,” he said.
Recalling the making of “Shakespeare in Love”, Stoppard said he “had an arrangement with Universal Studios to choose two things over three years”.
“One of the things they had was a screenplay, ‘Shakespeare in Love’ by Marc Norman. They asked me to work on it,” Stoppard said. Initially reluctant, he later “loved doing the job almost from scratch”.
“March should be given the credit for the idea of the young Shakespeare in love… that was the idea my screenplay inherited,” he said.
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