KC’s Gillian Flynn adapts her novel into screenplay

U-News Staff

Kansas City native Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” is difficult to discuss without revealing too many twists and turns. Flynn, the book’s author and the film’s screenwriter, speaks about turning her successful novel into the latest box office smash hit.
When a movie is adapted from a popular book, the audience response is typically dubious.
“The hardest part about adapting my book into a screenplay was pairing down this long and intricately plotted book without focusing too much on the plot,” Flynn said. “I wanted to keep the characters intact and retain some of the humor, oddness and twists that people really liked about the book.”
Part of the art of screenwriting is telling stories through images rather than only through exposition.
“I had to make the characters reveal themselves through how they’re seen instead of relying too heavily on monologues to express their inner thoughts,” Flynn said.
The film adaptation of “Gone Girl” won’t disappoint readers, and features raw and sometimes eccentric performances by the main characters, played by Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.

“I wanted to keep the characters intact and retain some of the humor, oddness and twists that people really liked about the book.”

Another issue screenwriters often face is the question of time. “Gone Girl” is two and a half hours long, but remains fast paced.
“The director [David Fincher] and I worked closely together, and we found ourselves constantly taking things out and putting them back into the screenplay,” Flynn said. “Ultimately, because of time, we found we had to leave some things out, like Desi Colling’s mother, who is only in the book for all of five pages.”
Flynn said many fans of the book told her how much they loved this character, and so she worried about her absence in the film. Fincher helped to put her mind at ease, however, and told her that once people see Desi (played by Neil Patrick Harris), “they’ll know there’s a mother in there somewhere.”
Flynn also provided advice and encouragement for new and young writers.
“My advice is to just keep writing,” she said.
She also challenged the misconception about how some people may consider writing to be “easy.”
“Sometimes the muse is not there, and sometimes it’s very tedious, but you just have to make yourself get back into the chair and write your way out of it,” Flynn said. “When you have characters you care about, they will take a life of their own and that will make you want to continue writing. Plot will bore you.”
She said the difference between a working, professional writer and someone who writes casually is “often not talent, but simply sticking to it and staying to the end. It’s the art of persistence.”
Flynn’s success doesn’t stop with the production of “Gone Girl.” A film adaptation of her second book, “Dark Places,” is scheduled for release next year. Her first book, “Sharp Objects,” has also been produced into a limited television series, scheduled for release soon.