BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

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Odo Banks
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#1 » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:48 pm

We're talking about potential directors and actors on another thread, but why not discuss how the ADAPTATION should go?

Questions immediately arise:

How much do we play with the storyline to make it filmable?

Should we be as faithful to the text as humanly possible?

Should anything be left out?

How do we deal with all those "singing" battles (and Luthien's singing in Doriath)?

More questions jump to mind.

Oh Eldorion - where to start?

Odo

GB Can we alter BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE MOVIE) to BEREN AND LUTHIEN (DIRECTOR AND ACTORS)???

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Odo Banks
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#2 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:22 am

Not sure where to start, but Dior's birth might be a nice ending.

Odo

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Tar-Palantir
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#3 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:12 am

Hi, i just found these threads and think its an awesome idea!!!
It's such a gripping story, so I think it should stay as close to the text as possible (I suppose everyone here thinks that though ;) )
On the other hand, there would have to be some adaptation. I think the singing battles are the most obvious: in a film there'd have to be a lot of magic at those points. What we must remember is that Silmarillion was written as a collection of myths and stories, and the idea of Luthien defeating Sauron (is that right?) by singing strikes me as very much a mythical representing of their struggle, and I don't think it was intended to be completely literal (perhaps I'm wrong, I'm open to being persuaded otherwise). Therefore, I think this would have to be made into more of a kind of "magic duel". That's what I think anyway.

I think a good place to start would be an introduction to Beren, and his life before he met Luthien (then again, I can't really remember exactly what it was he did before meeting Luthien - did he live alone on the wild for a bit?)

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Eldorion
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#4 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:14 am

Thanks for starting this thread Odo. :)

Odo Banks wrote:How much do we play with the storyline to make it filmable?


I would alter the story line as little as we can while still having the movie flow and work as a movie. Obviously that means we can't just take the original text and expect that to work as a screenplay, but I think that keeping the original structure of the story and working in the original dialog wherever possible would be good.

Should we be as faithful to the text as humanly possible?


The obvious limiter on faithfulness is quality as movie. I however do not think that quality as a movie and faithfulness as an adaptation is a zero-sum game; it's possible to have both. Given the vague and incomplete state of Beren and Luthien as it appears in The Silmarillion I don't think that it will be too hard.

Should anything be left out?


Not if we're going by the version in The Silmarillion, there's little enough in there as it is. That said, I haven't read that chapter in a while (I will when I get home and can), so there might be a few places to take out, but I don't think that there will be many, if any.

How do we deal with all those "singing" battles (and Luthien's singing in Doriath)?


I would show them. Luthien in Doriath especially since its a pivotal part of the story and runs little risk of being seen as cheesiness (music as part of a love story isn't really a shocker). Finrod and Sauron could be trickier to pull off without weirding out audiences, but perhaps having the singing accompanied by two competing musical themes (worked into the soundtrack) would help. I'll think about this some more.

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Tinuviel
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#5 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:46 am

I'm reading the story as of right now, and their is very little that could be cut out. I think its more so tying things together, and creating dialog. most of the story is told with very little dialog, which could be a challenge for making a film adaptation. There would need to be added dialogs (obviously) made from what little we are given in the book. I had the thought of Beren travelling by himself in the wilderness and being accompanied by animals (since he is friend to any beast that is not wicked) and occasionally talking to them.
And yes, with so much magic involved with the story, it will be hard to pull of the singing battles, or even Luthien's hair growing and disguising themselves as beasts.
I'm starting to think that this task will be harder to take on than LOTR!

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Odo Banks
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#6 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:30 pm

Your idea of competing "musics" (if you don't mind me putting it that way?) has already crossed my mind, Eldorion. I was thinking of the Music of the Ainur and Melkor's desire to compose separate from the 'team' (so to speak). Magic and Music together and wordless singing could work - Celtic (Luthien) and Germanic-Wagnerian (Sauron) as one idea???

As to dialogue, that is the toughest thing. Somehow we need to avoid "archaic" dialogue. No thous and thees for a start. There is no reason we couldn't use actual dialogue from the book and add to it. That would be the test of a great script writer, to add but be true.

The idea of Beren talking to animals would be fine, handled properly, but I don't think the animals should talk back - let's not go Disney here.

The landscapes should be "real" where possible. Middle Earth is a beautiful natural world, if wild, and Morgoth's lands an ugly mimicry (CGI could help here especially). The monsters must be realistic - National Geographic sort of, and put them in real environments when they battle our heroes.

While I think we should stay as much as possible with Beren, we should not ever lose sight of the fact that Luthien is the biggest hero. Let's not make Beren too heroic (I mean not too physically powerful - like a super hero - but we must allow his courageous spirit shine through the darkness!) His life must always be at great risk and his mortality shown. If we're not afraid he'll be killed or captured, then he won't work on film. We need to identify with his frailty as well as with his strength.

Luthien should remain slightly distant. Let's not risk sublimating the Magic and Mystery that surrounds her by making her a stock heroine. I don't how we can do it, but we must keep her down to earth but also remote somehow - she must have an inner natural beauty as well as an outer beauty. Wow! She'll be hard to cast.

Hey! This might be a great opportunity to have a female hero who is genuinely a 'female' hero and not some Conan with girl parts! We'll need female script writers - absolutely!

This is exciting! I need to catch my breath and give someone else a turn!


Odo

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Tar-Palantir
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#7 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 5:28 pm

I agree with all that Odo, especially about Luthien being the true hero.
But I think you could get away with some archaic dialogue, when Thingol speaks to Beren for the first time, for instance. He's angry and proud, so I think he could probably use old language. That having been said, I completely agree about avoiding it for general dialogue.

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Odo Banks
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#8 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:41 pm

My fear with archaic language is that we might be trying to be too grand and heroic. In some of the scenes in the LOTR movies, I think PJ tried too hard to give the characters lordliness and dignity - and ended up making them seem over-the-top. The natural presence should show forth without over-acting or CGI tricks. (Ian McKellan was brilliant in this. His Gandalf was REAL! And Theoden was beaut! Sad about Galadriel and Elrond though. And Celeborn and Denethor - the memories bring pain!)

And I must watch some truly beautiful (and subtle) love stories to get my head around how the romance should be handled. (Can the ladies help with suggestions?) The scene with Arwen telling Aragorn that if he is dreaming then it is a good dream, to me is a brilliant example of what we should be looking for. But some lighter but still intimate scenes will be required too. (Beren must trust Luthien from the start. No ghastly "Oh you're just a girl," crap!!!)

And I think PJ's monsters were generally good, but I think he did not build suspense all that well at times. If our movie could move a little slower and build suspense, I think that would work well. In other words, let's trust our viewers like T did his readers to follow a storyline that is not all bells and whistles and CGI monsters!

And if we put in some humor - and I think we should - let's make it situational rather than slapstick. Make it a pun-free zone - and definitely no comical creatures. I only mention humor because it is part of the human condition, even in the darkest of times, and Beren and Luthien should be serious but not severe; and somehow we must get light in so that the despairing and dangerous parts can work better on our emotions. If the characters are too dour, we will not be able to identify with them. They must not take themselves TOO seriously - nor resort to ever being silly, I hasten to say!

Yes, this won't be easy, but it'll be worth it in the end.

Odo

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Tinuviel
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#9 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:33 pm

Well, i'm a girl, so here is my say Odo :lol:
Unlike the Arwen Aragorn scenes (which for some reason bug me, though i don't know why, though it could very well be that I was obsessed with ARagorn...) Beren and Luthien shouldn't talk as much. For example...
As Beren walks through Doriath, following Luthiens voice, I think the moment he sees her (and we'll have to find one amazing actor for this) should simply look at her, and the audience will feel the overwhelming love he is feeling at that moment. Then we see Luthien, brilliantly fair with flowing dark hair and wonderous gray eyes, singing like a Nightengale. She begins to wander away, and an awe stricken Beren calls out to her, "Tinuviel" breaking the silence. She turns around, and you see in her face the same emotion that was on Beren's, yet wonder also. She looks at him, and she knows then her doom is decided. And she begins to sing to him, and they walk through the trees in complete bliss, their love blossoming as quickly as can be percieved by mortals alike.

That's what I call love at first sight. I think Tolkein does also. You see very much of him in Beren, the young tolkein at war. Alone and frightened and tired after long days of traveling and battle, then to look upon the face of the most fair maiden to ever walk the earth.How he felt, perhaps, when he met his wife the first time. We need to express that in the film.
And MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This movie CANNOT be Romeo and Juliet esc. This story deserves not to be compared too. (like Twilight :evil: )

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Odo Banks
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BEREN AND LUTHIEN (THE ADAPTATION)

Post#10 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 11:07 pm

Love it, Tinuviel!

I'm about to read the tale again. I'm playing with the idea of using the actual dialogue as a starting point for the scenes they're in. From there, maybe work out more dialogue, if necessary, to flesh them out. This method, one hopes, would help cover quite a few romance scenes. And from a framework something like that, we might begin to piece together the fuller script... (There's not a lot of dialogue, so why shouldn't it all be in?) The action scenes should be more straight forward, I think (though this doesn't take into account all that singing!)

A starting point...???
What about Beren out alone scouting for enemy activity in a treed valley. Maybe see a warg down the valley snuffling about to add a little tension. (This could be during starting credits). Then, to his surprise, a bird flies in from the direction of his village (quite some way away) sending up a "danger" call to alert him about trouble there. (This would be the Orcs killing the folk back home). The audience would then immediately know that he can converse with the beasts and lead fairly early in the movie to him hunting down the Orc band... (No dialogue yet... which should make things easier to begin with!)

Odo

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