‘I fell in love with The Magus as a teenager’: Sam Mendes on going from wartime trenches to Greek idyll

the Guardian | 1/25/2020 | Vanessa Thorpe
A small Greek island, its wooded hills woven with timeless secrets, would make a welcome contrast to the carnage of first world war trenches. But if 1917 director Sir Sam Mendes now has a holiday isle near Athens in his sights, it is as the location of his next project, and not as a sunny destination before he is feted at Bafta and Oscar ceremonies next month.

Mendes and his partners at Neal Street Productions are to make a major television adaptation of The Magus, the mysterious and much-loved novel by John Fowles. “Like many people, I read and loved it as a teenager,” Mendes said this weekend, as he unveiled his latest plans to the Observer.

Director - Twisting - Plot - Bestseller - Television

The director believes the twisting, layered plot of the 1965 bestseller will be suited to television. Fowles wrote the book, which was made into a film in 1968, after teaching English at a school on Spetses, and it tells the story of the enigmatic and reclusive resident of an island villa who controls the lives of those who come into his orbit. “There are lots of modern classics like this one which were compressed into movies in the past and perhaps lost something by squeezing them, instead of telling them over several hours,” said Mendes.

“There’s a whole raft of good books that fall into that category and now we are in a position where we can tell it differently.”

Covent - Garden - Offices - Mendes - Shares

Inside the Covent Garden offices Mendes shares with three partner producers, there is no question of taking a rest after the run of hits they have enjoyed. Between them, Mendes, Nick Brown, Caro Newling and Dame Pippa Harris are also responsible for staging Stefano Massini’s acclaimed theatrical event, The Lehman Trilogy. And 1917, which this weekend has reached a box office figure of almost £22m in just...
(Excerpt) Read more at: the Guardian
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