On a gorgeous, balmy, Sydney Sunday afternoon a capacity crowd turned out for the AFTRS sponsored panel on adaptations at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Chaired by Ross Grayson Bell, AFTRS Head of Screenwriting, the audience got to hear Gillian Armstrong, Greg Haddrick and John Collee engage in a lively debate on the rewards and pitfalls of adapting well loved and known books such as: FIGHT CLU, CLOUDSTREET, OSCAR & LUCINDA, LITTLE WOMEN and MATER AND COMMANDER. Gillian Armstrong was in fine form when posed with a question from the audience as to whether the world ‘needed’ another adaption of LITTLE WOMEN, bringing honesty and passion to the debate that elicited spontaneous applause, while Ross Grayson Bell revealed Chuck Palahniuk preferred the screenplay ending of FIGHT CLUB to his own book. Greg Haddrick discussed the joys of working with Tim Winton on CLOUDSTREET t but was a little more cautious when talking about some of the characters he interviewed during the process of bringing UNDERBELLY to the small screen.
– Neil Peplow