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Fifty-Two Pickup
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Unknown Man No. 89
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Stick
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Touch
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Stories

The Complete Western Stories of Elmore Leonard
The Tonto Woman and Other Western Stories
When the Women Come Out to Dance
Trail of the Apache
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You Never See Apaches…
Red Hell Hits Canyon Diablo
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Law of the Hunted One
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Under the Friar’s Ledge
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Long Night
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Saint with a Six-Gun
The Captives
No Man’s Guns
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Jugged
Moment of Vengeance
Man with the Iron Arm
The Longest Day of his Life
The Nagual
The Kid
The Treasure of Mungo’s Landing
The Bull Ring at Blisston
Only Good Ones
The Tonto Woman
Hurrah for Captain Early
Karen Makes Out
The Odyssey
Sparks
Hanging Out at the Buena Vista
Fire in the Hole
Chickasaw Charlie Hoke
When the Women Come Out to Dance
Tenkiller
Showdown at Checotah
Louly and Pretty Boy
Chick Killer (2011)
Ice Man

Film and TV

Moment of Vengeance
3:10 to Yuma
The Tall T
Hombre
The Big Bounce (I)
The Moonshine War
Valdez is Coming
Joe Kidd
Mr. Majestyk
High Noon, Part II
Stick
52 Pickup
Desperado
The Rosary Murders
Glitz (TV)
Cat Chaser
Border Shootout
Split Images
Get Shorty
Last Stand at Saber River
Pronto
Touch
Elmore Leonard’s Gold Coast (TV)
Jackie Brown
Maximum Bob
Out of Sight
Karen Sisco
The Big Bounce (II)
Be Cool (2005)
The Ambassador
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Killshot (2009)
Freaky Deaky
The Tonto Woman
Sparks
Justified
Life of Crime

BookForum: Reflections (on the topic of fiction into film)

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BookForum - June, July, August 2007 issue

Reflections
BY JAMES IVORY, ELMORE LEONARD, TRACY CHEVALIER, PATRICK MCGRATH, JERRY STAHL, MICHAEL TOLKIN, SUSANNA MOORE, TIME KRABBE, IRVINE WELSH, BARRY GIFFORD, ALEXANDER PAYNE, MYLA GOLDBERG, AND FREDERIC RAPHAEL

ELMORE LEONARD

Writing a novel is one of my great pleasures—writing to find out what the book is about, writing to please myself as long as my publisher likes my work—but I have seldom enjoyed writing screenplays. Whether an adaptation of one of my books or an original, it seems always to become work and not much fun. I suppose that’s because it has to be revised so many times to meet everyone’s perception of what the story is about.

After reading my screenplay based on Glitz, the first novel of mine to appear on the New York Times bestseller list, a studio executive said to me, “All you’ve done is adapt the book, scene for scene.” I said, “Yes?” He said, “You don’t have to be a screenwriter to do that.” I think what he was saying is that the screenwriter is obliged to revise scenes and dialogue, change things around, whether he feels the need to or not.

I was fired from another picture after writing several drafts because, as the producer at MGM put it, “You’re too close to the forest to see the trees.” What did that mean—that I didn’t understand my own book? The same words were used to take the screenwriter, played by Robert Redford, off the picture he was working on in The Way We Were. I think, though, my view of the trees might have come before Redford’s, so I can’t really accuse the producer of stealing the analogy. A week later, I was hired on again and wrote what I was told to write. It wasn’t a good picture.

With high hopes, and thinking I would be good at it, I must have written a dozen or more features, some produced, some not. The only successful one, Mr. Majestyk, was written as an original for producer Walter Mirisch—the book came later. It’s been paying residuals for thirty-three years.

In 1993, Bill Friedkin asked me to write a picture with him, and we had a pretty good time getting the script going, but I don’t think either of us cared enough about the story to take it beyond the first draft, now on a shelf somewhere at Paramount. Friedkin married Sherry Lansing, and I went home. It was the last screenplay I wrote. I don’t remember the title but seem to recall it was a pretty good one.

 

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