[Quick Summary: The Adjustment Bureau continues to keep apart a couple in love.]
Today I decided to reverse engineer this script.
How did the screenwriter expand the short story into a film?
In the short story:
- David Norris works at an insurance company.
- He's married.
- It happens in a day and within 18 pages.
In the screenplay:
- David Norris is a congressman.
- He's single and falls in love.
- It happens over 6+ years, and 129 pages.
After reading William Goldman's book, I know audiences should be ok with these superficial changes as long as:
1) The emotional core was the same.
2) That the emotional core was protected at all costs.
In the short story, the emotional core is: "Should I tell my wife the truth?"
In the script, the writer structured the story around this question.
The script asks this question three times - all at major turning points, all with higher stakes.
Check them both out for yourself. They're worth the read.
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: To do justice to a short story, stick close to its emotional core.
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
by George Nolfi
Based on the short story, "The Adjustment Team", by Philip K. Dick