The Rehearsal Adaptation a Team Effort
The spirit of collaboration runs deep in Alison Maclean’s The Rehearsal, the Canadian filmmaker’s often ambitious and hearteningly daring big screen adaptation of Man Booker Prize-winning author New Zealander Eleanor Catton’s first novel of the same name.
Catton won the prestigious Booker for her latest novel – only her second – The Luminaries, making her the youngest recipient of the storied book prize since its inception in 1969.
That Catton is so accomplished at such a young age speaks to the themes of The Rehearsal, which she wrote when she was just 21 as her Master’s thesis.
Catton proved to be the perfect collaborator.
“She was the ideal author to work with,” Maclean said when asked about working with Catton. “She’s very, very hands off.”
The filmmaker explained, “I approached her about the option, she checked out my work, we had a very nice meeting, but she didn’t ask me one question about the kind of film I imagined it being, or how we would adapt the book. She just kind of trusted me and trusted us and let us get on with it.”
Yet that doesn’t mean that Catton wasn’t invested and interested in the process. “About three or four drafts in, we sent it to her, and she was just very open,” Maclean remembered. “She was just very curious about what a film can do that’s different from what a book does. She gave us some very helpful, very generous notes, visited the set a few times. I think she was just really fascinated by the filmmaking process.”
Catton, coincidentally enough, is making her own foray into screenwriting, and is working on turning The Luminaries into a six-part series.
The Rehearsal premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival in September and will screen at the New York Film Festival on 5 and 6 October. It is currently seeking US distribution.
The film stars James Rolleston, Kerry Fox and Alice Englert.
Original article by Kate Erbland, IndieWire, September 21, 2016.