I’d like ask you first, since you’ve adapted Crash,Naked Lunch and M. Butterfly, to talk a little bit about your process of adaptation in general. What draws you to literary works? And are the kinds of things that drew you to Cosmopolis different or similar to the things that drew you to some of your previous adaptations?
Well I don’t really know what draws me to things. [Laughs] I don’t have any rules, you know? It’s all just subjective. After the fact, I suppose one could look at, let’s say, Crash,The Dead Zone and Naked Lunch and connect them to some of the qualities of Cosmopolis, but to me, that’s critics’ work, an analyst’s work. Cosmopoliswas brought to me by Paulo Branco, a Portuguese producer. I had read other stuff of DeLillo’s but I didn’t know Cosmopolis. So I read it, and then two days later I said, “Yeah, I think I’d like to do this. But I need to see if it’s really a movie.” I literally spent three days just transcribing the dialogue from the book and putting it in screenplay form, and then another three days filling in the gaps — the scene descriptions and stuff. In the course of doing that, I left out things that I felt wouldn’t work on screen. I did that intuitively, so there was a process of selection there. It wasn’t just mechanical. At the end of it, I read my screenplay, and I said, “Yeah, it is a movie, and it’s one I’d really like to make.” So that’s how it worked. And that six days was it for screenwriting. [The script] never changed, and it’s all from the book. I might’ve added one or two lines or comments just to clarify some things, but that’s it. It’s a unique adaptation in a way, because in some books the dialogue doesn’t feel like it belongs in the mouths of actors. It’s literary and it works on the page, but it’s not something that you’d really want to hear somebody speak, and so, you change it. In this case, I really wanted the dialogue [to remain the same]. In fact, that was one of the main attractions, to me, of the book. I really felt, “Wow, I’d really like to hear good actors speaking this dialogue and see what happens.” None of the other adaptations worked in this way. And that doesn’t surprise me because each project is completely unique.