FINANCIAL TIMES ASKS, "WHY ARE SUCCESSFUL FILMMAKERS WRITING NOVELS?"
"Films are my voyage and writing is home." That is how Werner Herzog responds to the Financial Times' Theo Zenou, who is "trying to understand what writing prose means to Herzog." The headline for the article, which was posted on July 28, is "Why are successful filmmakers writing novels?"
Along with Herzog's novel The Twilight World, the article mentions Michael Mann's Heat 2, David Koepp's Aurora and Cold Storage, Quentin Tarantino's novelization of his own film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, and, of course, Are Snakes Necessary? which was written by Brian De Palma and Susan Lehman. Here's a brief excerpt from Zenou's article:
But what may appeal most to filmmakers is the autonomy that comes with writing. Charles Ardai, De Palma’s publisher at Hard Case Crime, thinks this ultimately explains why so many filmmakers turn to novels: “It’s enormously appealing to a director or screenwriter to generate a piece of art solitaire. This is a way to go from being one of an ensemble, even the most important one, to being a soloist.” Koepp concurs, adding “everybody on a movie is an assistant storyteller”. A novel is “more fulfilling because it’s more yours”, he says, “there are no other opinions to consider”.
And then there is the absence of budgets and shooting schedules. Herzog, in typically vivid style, likens the filming process to “open-heart surgery”, which must be completed “under limited time conditions”. While publishers can be stalled, film shoots, like operations, are ruthlessly unforgiving. “You cannot do open-heart surgeries stretching out over two weeks,” Herzog says. “You have to do it in half a day, otherwise the patient is going to be dead.”