Jojo Moyes and Sophie Kinsella Discuss the Film Adaptation of Me Before You Transcript
Sophie Kinsella: And you mentioned the film, so I mean it’s all going on!
Jojo Moyes: It has all been going on.
Sophie: Has it been an amazing experience?
Jojo: It’s been amazing. I mean the very odd thing when you get to a certain age shall we say – I’m maybe in my 30’s, quite possibly –
Jojo: – is that you think you know where your life is going, and you think you know what skills you’ve acquired. And learning to write the screenplay and having other people’s input and watching the way a film comes together has basically been like being on the sharpest of learning curves. But I love it, I absolutely love it. In fact I’ve gone on to adapt another one of my books since, and I’m now working on a third because I’ve just – I find that you’re either a visual writer or you’re somebody who has to spend hours crafting a sentence because of how it sounds. Well I’m the former, and I think that may lend itself naturally – well you’ve done your own adaptation – I think it makes it easier.
Sophie: It is. I think if you see your story in scenes then that helps. Any screenplay cannot have all the content that a novel has, so did you find that a challenge?
Jojo: That’s the hardest thing, is what you strip out and maintain the integrity of the book. So yes I think the ‘killing your darlings’ thing is exceptionally tough but most of the killing seems to go on quite early on in the process. And I think what’s really useful is working collaboratively, where you have other people saying “well you can’t remove that because then that doesn’t work” and it’s a whole new experience because when you’re a writer it’s just you and that blank page and your quiet room and all the responsibility lies with you. This is fascinating and frustrating and invigorating and challenging because you are working with other people on one thing. So, no, it’s been great.
And also, the best bit frankly has been watching the two leads because if I had been able to picture Will and Lou in my head, I couldn’t have actually pictured them more realistically than Sam and Emilia.
Sophie: That is such a lovely thing to say, I was going to come onto this. Casting is always such a massive issue in any book. Especially a well-loved book makes it onto the screen. So you’re happy?
Jojo: I’m really happy. I’d only known Emilia as the Khaleesi in Game of Thrones, so when they first suggested her I thought “Well, blonde? Dragons? I don’t know! I can’t write any dragons into my book!” But actually when you see her in person, you just think “Well that’s Lou. She’s Lou.” She has the ability to look quite ordinary or exceptionally beautiful, she’s a bit quirky, she’s terribly warm, she has this amazing personality. And as soon as I saw her I just thought “she’s the one” and luckily everyone else agreed.
And Sam, again, he is such an intelligent performer so that in everything he does, you can see Will’s intelligence there. So I couldn’t be happier.
Sophie: This is a great story, because you don’t always have authors enthusing to such a degree so this is a good sign for the film.
Jojo: I feel I’ve been very lucky. I’m very conscious that this is not an ordinary experience.
Sophie: No. Well it’s not an ordinary book. Let’s be honest, I mean it’s an extraordinary book. And so I, as a reader, as a fan, I’m hoping that the film does it justice and is an extraordinary film. And I will be taking six boxes of Kleenex when I go to see it.
Jojo: All I can say is I have been there at every turn of the script and I don’t think I could have fought any harder. Luckily everybody who was involved seems to have a very similar vision.