"BOTH IN A GOOD WAY AND A BAD WAY"
The June 2009 issue of Empire celebrates the 20th anniversary of the British film magazine with guest editor Steven Spielberg. Tom Hanks is interviewed in the issue by assistant editor Ian Freer, who notes to Hanks that his first Empire cover was for The Bonfire Of The Vanities in 1991. Hanks has some very interesting things to say about the film:
That's a very interesting thing because, when we were making it, that movie was huge. We couldn't make a move anywhere in New York City. Everyone was talking about it: "They took this book that had entered into the national consciousness and now they're making a film out of it and everybody is miscast!" Everybody was miscast, me particularly. Brian De Palma deals with iconography more than filmmaking. He is the most uncompromising filmmaker-- both in a good way and a bad way-- that you'll ever come across. This is the guy who made Scarface. Motherfucking Scarface. So his take on it was just one of those things. You can't take a book like that, that has changed the way people talk and think-- Masters Of The Universe, Styrofoam peanuts, and $900,000 a year and still going broke-- and change it into a palatable movie, or alter the thrust of what the source material is talking about. It may not translate in a way that is going to work.
(Since I could not find a scan of the Empire cover mentioned above, I dug up this American Cinematographer cover from the same period.)