How do you see the movie working?

For discussion of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel Människohamn
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CyberGhostface
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How do you see the movie working?

Post by CyberGhostface » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:03 pm

When reading the book, I thought of how difficult it would be to make it a film adaptation, even moreso than LTROI would have been. What do you think Lindqvist and Alfredson will do to adapt it? What should be focused on and what should be cut out?
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Re: How do you see the movie working?

Post by Nightrider » Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:50 pm

If this was being made in US, I'd see it as a miniseries for cable. HBO or Showtime or even FX or USA, but not any of the prime time channels(ABC, CBS, NBC). They would just mess it up. Since Harbor possibly going to be made into a movie, it will be a tough task to complete. To make a commercially viable film that's about 2 hrs long and has a worldwide appeal one must be ready to make some changes in a script made from a novel like Harbor. The book's focus is so enormous and filled with so many characters and time shifts that I don't see how it would successfully work as a movie. It's a ghost story, it's a family drama, it's a "Wicker Man" type mystery, it's a regional thriller, it's a horror tale, etc...Perhaps the only person who could do this book justice would be Lindquist himself, who I believe is the screenwriter on this project.
I'm not sure if Tomas Alfredson is the right choice to direct this particular film. I always pictured someone with more of an epic eye working on Harbor.Danny Boyle or Neill Blomkamp. TA might be able to pull it off, but I think he would be an ideal director for film version of Handling the Undead. I'd love to see Alfredson try...Harbor is a very cinematic novel, as is HTU. It seems that JAL writes his books with an idea that all of his works will be eventually turned into movies, which I think is cool.
As far as, what to keep and what to cut...Island's history must be kept, Simon's and Anna-Greta's past should be kept to a minimum, Anders' childhood and the circle of friends is too important to edit very much. Cast of islanders could be sliced a bit...way too many names, way too many hijinks. Relationship between Maja and Anders must be one of the central lines in the story. Must have a special place for Spiritus, that thing is a fantastic invention. Anders' drinking is also very important part. Henrik and Bjorn part must be handled very carefully. If not done correctly there's a danger of losing the audience for good. There's also a lot of humor in the novel. This should be cut down slightly. Harbor is not a comedy. Too many giggles could ruin the entire atmosphere. Elin is also important to the film. Her part could even be made larger than it is in the book.
Basically, film should have a medium size cast of principals, with a group of younger actors to play Anders and his friends. Climax could be a problem. It should either be subtle rescue or an all out CGI fest. Either way it should be a grandiose supernatural ending....So many decisions. I don't envy the production team....oh heck...what am I talking about! You bet I'm envious...Sounds like great fun.
Whatever the outcome is, I'd buy a ticket no matter who directs it.
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Re: How do you see the movie working?

Post by lombano » Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:19 am

I think the focus would have to be on Anders and Maja, that's the backbone of the story and what holds the novel together. The island's backstory would have to go, as would part of Simon's backstory. The backstories of Henrik and Bjoern would have to go, if not the characters themselves. The backstory of Anders and Cecilia would also have to go I think. Basically I think it would have to be a fairly linear plot going from Maja's disappearance to the end, at most with the occasional flahsback.
I do think TA would be the right choice to film Harbour. His way of handling the supernatural, attention to details, etc would work very well here I think, so I'd very keen to watch it if he does direct it. I'm less keen on an adaptation of HTU, though I'll watch it if they ever show it over here.
OT: Any thoughts on a LS adaptation? I'm thinking Werner Herzog would be good, if he were interested...
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Re: How do you see the movie working?

Post by Wolfchild » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:09 pm

Nightrider wrote:As far as, what to keep and what to cut...Island's history must be kept, Simon's and Anna-Greta's past should be kept to a minimum
While I would greatly miss that excellent anecdote about Anna-Greta smuggling on the Customs boat, I think you are probably right.
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Re: How do you see the movie working?

Post by danielma » Sun Nov 06, 2011 11:16 pm

I personally thought the movie (if it still ends up happening) would basically cut out a lot of the history involving Domaro. I mean the real history, not Anders history.

I think the movie would (and should) focus more so on Anders trying to find out what happen to Maja. I think that the film could dip in and out of Anders past (I think it would be mandatory for the film in regards to Henrik and Bjorn and their description)

Heres how I roughly see the film going.

- It begins with Anders, his wife and Maja going to the lighthouse.

- Maja disapears resulting in a search with no trace found (this sets up the mystery from the get go)

- 1 year later titlecard (or was it 2? I can't remember it’s been a while since I read it)

- Anders returns to the island. He's changed from a respectable family man to a withered man. Now a borderline alcoholic. Here he meets up with Simon who picks him up from the boat. They have their talk and then Anders is dropped off at the house. Here you could even throw out the plot point that Anders is back in town for Simon and Anna Greta’s Wedding (if you wanted too, gives a reason for Anders returning to Domaro)

- Here Anders begins to notice the strange presence of Maja that lingers in the house. Admist a severe rain storm, he spends a creepy night in the house with the dread of something lingering...a strange prescence

- As a result of the storm the night prior. Simon finds a washed up body (in a brief scene) that the sea has rejected (once again establishes more mystery)

- Anders tries to establish contact with his ex-wife through the phone but of course she passes him off as being drunk.

- The story eventually leads him to the disfigured Elin...here would maybe be the first instance of Anders flashbacks...going back to the scene of Anders,
Elin, Cecilia, Henrik and Bjorn as teenagers (the one where Elin claims that Henrik *once again can't remember if it was Henrik or Bjorn* attacked her).
This sets up Henrik and Bjorn for when they enter the film in their otherworldly presence.

- Anders drops by Simon and Anna Greta's house to find most of the town regulars engrossed in a meeting...but gets no answers as to what is going on
(intensifying the mystery of Domaro)

- The presence of Maja grows stronger. Anders finds the camera (the camera with the last known photos of Maja from the lighthouse trip), gets the film developed

- Then the first confrontation happens. The one between Henrik, Bjorn and Elin

-The presence of Maja grows stronger and stronger. The strange occurences with Henrik and Bjorn terrorising are growing stronger.

- All of this leads Anders back to Anna-Greta in hope to find out the mystery of what is happening on the island

- Anna Greta tells Anders about the sacrificial rituals of Domaro and how the sea only takes away bad people.

- Anders gets enraged at the thought of Anna Greta calling Maja a bad person

- This leads Anders to a scene where he calls his ex-wife. His wife reminds him that Maja had indeed been a temperamental child (resulting in another of Anders memory flashbacks)

- The strange presence continues and weird occurrences are happening all throughout the town.

- Anders engages in another confrontation with Henrik and Bjorn (leading to their final confrontation)

- After this, it seems that Maja’s presence has left him. Leaving Anders in a state of severe despair and depression

- We then cut to the wedding of Simon and Anna Greta. This is where Simon finally reveals the truth to Anders about the drinking water and that is the drinking water from the sea is allowing the spirits in.

- Anders immediately returns home and drinks till he feels Maja return.

- Eventually he works it all out and returns to the island with the light house. This is where he finds the cave. Presumably after being shown by Maja.

- All of this leads to Anders finding Maja and angering the sea in the process leading the final conclusion of Anders desperately trying to save Maja.


I think it would be wise to drop the Spiritus sub plot for the film. It works for the book, but I don’t know if it will work for the film. Same as I think it would be wise to drop most of Simon and Anna Greta’s plot and focus more so on Anders and the mystery surrounding Maja’s disappearance. This is my take on what the film might be and how it might work.
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Re: How do you see the movie working?

Post by Nightrider » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:02 am

danielma wrote:I think it would be wise to drop the Spiritus sub plot for the film. It works for the book, but I don’t know if it will work for the film.
Spiritus should be kept in, since it plays such a pivotal part in helping Anders' rescue Maja. Great deal of Anders' powers in the book comes from Spiritus...what should he use in the movie version? Gallons of wormwood and harsh language? :lol:
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Re: How do you see the movie working?

Post by danielma » Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:51 am

Spiritus should be kept in, since it plays such a pivotal part in helping Anders' rescue Maja. Great deal of Anders' powers in the book comes from Spiritus...what should he use in the movie version? Gallons of wormwood and harsh language? :lol:
You simply find a way to work around it. The reason I say to remove it is two fold. a.) Will it really work for a film? It works well in the book, but is it really believable or going to work for a film? And secondly, it ties into the subplot of Simon which I really think would have to be removed simply due to time constraints.

See here is the thing about the film as I see it, I think it needs to be driven through Ander's perspective. I think the film needs to work through Ander's drive to find his daughter. I think the Spiritus subplot (whilst useful in the book) just isn't needed for the film...maybe I'm wrong, maybe there is a way to make it work and become believable in a visual reference, but I don't think its needed. Their are ways to work around it. The core story of what I just described in that little run down is the same as the book, the book is about a father battling all odds to find and save his daughter.

Trust me there is a lot I would like to see in the film...for instance I would love to see the flashbacks with Simon and Anna Greta (especially Simon's big magic trick). But I don't think it would make the cut due to the time constraints. When I was done with the novel, the first thought that came to mind was that if this does become a film then a lot of the subplots will be chopped out and I think it will focus on the main plot which is Anders looking for his daughter.
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Re: How do you see the movie working?

Post by EEA » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:19 am

I agree that the plot with Anders would have to be the core of the movie. And Spiritus is important because it helps Anders with his search. The movie could start with Anna-Greta talking about how there is a dark secret that the people of Domaro guard. At the same time the scene can be when Maja vanishes. Then Anders begins his search and Simon is there to help him. There can be a scene were Simon uses Spiritus and he shows how it works. Then he gives it to Anders. And some flashbacks of Anders.]

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Re: How do you see the movie working?

Post by Nightrider » Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:52 am

It's true. The movie should center on Anders' search for Maja. I still think that very little of Simon and Anna-Greta will go a long way. Showing too much of their history might mess with film's rhythm. Everything I mentioned before is possibly negotiable, however I'll fight for Spiritus untill I'm blue. That little creature is such weirdly Lynchian device that leaving it out of the film would be a missed opportunity to have something for the viewers to talk about on their way home from the cinema. Spiritus visibly crosses the line between real life and fantastic universe that exists on the island. Everything from ghosts to Simon's stories could be discounted as hallucinations and tall tales...Untill the conclusion of the book of course. That is why Spiritus is a visible and important bridge to true magic. IMO it is almost one of the principal players in this story. Completely indispensable.
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Re: How do you see the movie working?

Post by danielma » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:09 am

Nightrider wrote:It's true. The movie should center on Anders' search for Maja. I still think that very little of Simon and Anna-Greta will go a long way. Showing too much of their history might mess with film's rhythm. Everything I mentioned before is possibly negotiable, however I'll fight for Spiritus untill I'm blue. That little creature is such weirdly Lynchian device that leaving it out of the film would be a missed opportunity to have something for the viewers to talk about on their way home from the cinema. Spiritus visibly crosses the line between real life and fantastic universe that exists on the island. Everything from ghosts to Simon's stories could be discounted as hallucinations and tall tales...Untill the conclusion of the book of course. That is why Spiritus is a visible and important bridge to true magic. IMO it is almost one of the principal players in this story. Completely indispensable.
I don't disagree with any of that and hey if someone could make the Spiritus work in a film version then more power to them :) but I have this weird feeling that (if Harbour gets made) that it will be one of the things that will become a sticky point as to whether its kept or not. Or maybe I'm wrong and maybe it would work perfectly :)

I think it would be best to keep Simon and Anna Greta's history to a minimum (as much as I would miss it) and this is why I am somewhat cautious about Spiritus since it does tie into very much of Simon's plot. I think with Spiritus you run the risk of pulling a "Eli is a boy", as in there is a chance you may loose the audience with a lack of explination...in that case does the Spiritus work? or will you loose the audience and will it become redundant to the core story

I don't know, I hope someone proves me wrong and makes it work :)
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