Following on from Nicola’s post yesterday, it’s clear that a yawning chasm lies between the reality of an author’s life and the pictures people paint of us. As I sit at my marble topped desk, writing with my solid gold ink pen, my butler butters my crumpets and we both excitedly await the latest Harrods delivery. I thought I’d kill time delving into the various portrayals of the writing and publishing world, as seen on the big and small screen. Always good for a laugh!
The launch party
My favourite of these is in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'. Salman Rushdie and Jeffrey Archer both make cameo appearances. The editor-in-chief (a US term, surely?) is bouffant, the senior editor is prim and snobbish, the publishing director is lecherous. Everyone gets drunk and there’s a cock up during the speeches. Some may say staggeringly accurate. (I couldn't possibly comment.) There is one glaring error. The London publishing offices are high tech, clean and swanky. Erm. Did these film makers even go near a typical London publishing office in the name of research?
The literary agent
This has got to be Lauren Bacall in ‘Misery’. Who wouldn’t kill to have a screen legend as their agent? Especially when she spells out home truths like these: ‘Misery Chastain put braces on your daughter's teeth and is putting her through college, bought you two houses and floor seats to the Knick games and what thanks does she get? You go and kill her.’ Oh, Paul. If only you’d listened to your agent…
Take your pick. You can be Nicole Kidman with a prosthetic nose, grimly smoking hand-rolled cigarettes to show your rebellious creativity as Virginia Woolf in 'The Hours'. Or you could choose the rosy cheeks and extra padding of Renee Zellweger playing Beatrix Potter. Perhaps you prefer the absinthe madness of Ewan McGregor typing in a garret in 'Moulin Rouge!', just before a miniature Kylie Minogue pops by for a visit. The rules are all the same: you'll look mad as a hatter. I recently enjoyed the cruel irony in the last TV episode of 'Any Human Heart' when the main character only makes it into Waterstones 3-for-2 after his death. Typical!
Are there any realistic representations of what we do either on the small or big screen? Should there be? Are people ready for the truth? Personally, I can't wait to see Tim Burton cast Helena Bonham Carter as JK Rowling. And Jude Law as Philip Pullman? Come on! It's a no brainer...
Do you have any favourite cinematic publishing moments. And who would play you in the film of your career?
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