HITCHCOCK: “Crime and Punishment is someone else’s achievment…Even if I did (adapt it,) it probably wouldn’t be any good. In Dostoyevsky‘s book there are many, many words and all of them have a function.”
“What I do is read a story only once, and if I like the basic idea, I just forget all about the book and start to create cinema. Today I would be unable to tell you the story of Daphne Du Maurier’s The Birds”
Ethan Coen on how they adapted No Country For Old Men “One of us types into the computer, while the other holds the spine of the book open flat.”
Which brings to mind the old story* that John Huston got his secretary to type out The Maltese Falcon in screenplay format before going on holiday. Jack Warner then got hold of the transcript thinking it was the final script, said he loved it and not to change a thing! Huston subsequently won an Oscar for script of Maltese Falcon. So it’s an easy job this adaptation lark!
* to be taken with a pinch of salt, like all old Hollywood tales.