Eleanor & Park Author Rainbow Rowell Talks Fifty Shades and Franzen

To read full article here: http://time.com/3714753/rainbow-rowell-interview/

Did you see Jonathan Franzen’s comments last week about young-adult fiction being “moral simplicity”? What did you think?
I didn’t see his quote, so I hate to respond to a quote that I didn’t see, but it’s a common thing to say. If he said that, he’s not alone in saying that. I don’t think people would be saying that if YA wasn’t popular right now. A lot of people look at something popular, and they’re dismissive of it because they don’t understand it. If you think YA is simple, you probably haven’t read a lot of it. But YA is not a genre. It’s just this really loosely defined category of books. If YA had always been this popular category, a lot of books we think of as classics would be YA. The Catcher in the Rye? Without question. Also, I don’t know that people just read YA. So I don’t know what he says, but I’m familiar with the argument.

How is writing the screenplay for Eleanor & Park?
I have finished a first draft, and DreamWorks is talking to a possible director.

Does adapting your own book feel like doing surgery on your own children, as I’ve heard one author describe it?
It felt more like trying to like transmogrify a dog into a cat and keeping it alive. I think it would be easier to adapt someone else’s novel or write a screenplay from scratch. It was difficult, and I’m sure it will continue to change. It’s just like learning how to do it on the job. Eleanor and Park is a tricky book because almost everything happens internally. There’s a lot unsaid. I had to figure out how to show it in the screenplay, but whoever directs the film will ultimately make those decisions. A movie belongs to a director much more to a screenwriter.

Will you be on set and involved in casting in the way John Green is with the movie versions of his books?
That really depends on the movie company and the director and how involved they want me to be. It’s someone else’s party. There are some directors who find the author really helpful, and there are others who are like, “I need to stay fresh and do my own thing.” Which I would understand because the director of the film has a completely different job. So I’m for it, I’d love to be involved. What I want is a director who really can make it happen. I want that more than I want to be involved.

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