NYT.com: Louis Sachar tells the “Hole” truth

In a web-only interview with the New York Times, novelist Louis Sachar reveals that his new novel “Small Steps” was informed by the torture of making “Holes” into a movie. Viz:

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“Once I sold the movie rights, I lost that control. The movie had several producers along with their staff, all looking at the material for the first time, and saying how things should be changed, often not even realizing the effects of all their changes. There were times when the screenplay (which I wrote) had been so badly altered, and in my mind, distorted, that I contemplated taking my name off of it… But the initial development process took about three years. It was during that time, when the script looked out-of-control to me, that I got the idea about writing a story about the “real” Armpit and X-Ray going to Hollywood to complain about the way their characters were portrayed, and to demand money for the rights to “their” story. I never got very far into the novel, but I liked the dynamics I had created between those two characters, and so I still wanted to write about them.”

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Actually, this is a hell of an idea for a novel. Except for this: If a second Sachar novel about his disaffected characters’ trip to Hollywood is a hit, then it, like “Holes”, would probably be turned into a movie.

And in that case, you’d have a movie based on a book about two characters who felt their portrayal in a previous movie based on a book was inaccurate. Where does it end? Sachar was clearly right to abandon this dangerous line of thinking and set the new novel in Austin, Texas. Doing otherwise might have been even more traumatic than John Malkovich‘s passing through his own portal in “Being John Malkovich.”

Chapter One of Sachar’s “Small Steps” is available online.