Haruki Murakami Took Four Years to Approve "Norwegian Wood" Adaptation
At a press conference in Tokyo earlier this weekend, French-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung told reporters it took him four years to win Japanese author Haruki Murakami‘s approval to adapt his popular novel, Norwegian Wood, into a film.
Hung first read the tale of collegiate romance and melancholy in 1994, and “had always wanted to make it into a movie.” The 47-year-old director would only approach Murakami, whom he called “quiet, very serious, and very careful,” ten years later. Hung noted of his meeting with the famously private writer:
Murakami protected his work. He gave us two conditions. One is that he would like to see the script. The other one is he would like to know what would be the budget for the movie.
Does Hung, who previously directed the critically acclaimed The Scent of the Green Papaya, understand his source material? Or will he alienate Murakami, much as 20th Century Fox and DC Comics did with their adaptations of Alan Moore‘s From Hell and V for Vendetta? Hung certainly seems to understand the novel’s core concerns when he explains his take:
I’ve read some other love stories, but this one is very special. The book reveals some shadows that are hidden inside of you. It is about love and lost love. It’s about mourning. It’s about feelings of making up with life after the death of your loved ones.
The novel revolves around Wantanabe, a college student who must deal with a friend’s suicide, the emotionally fragile Naoko, and the love triangle that emerges upon his encounter with a vivacious classmate, Midori.
In September, the film adaptation was nominated for the Venice Film Festival‘s Golden Lion award — a promising sign. The movie will be released in Japan in December.
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TAGS: Haruki Murakami • movies • Norwegian Wood adaptation • Tran Anh Hung
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