I read the most horrifying comment on a blog yesterday. The commenter suggested, in all earnestness, that there should be an American adaptation of The Master and Margarita. Long-time readers will know that this is my favorite book and its author, Mikhail Bulgakov, is my favorite writer, so this book and Bulgakov are sacrosanct to me.
But an American adaption of this novel would be so wrong in so many ways.
- American adaptations of books almost always leave out some important stuff. The Russian adaptation, on the other hand, went all-out and serialized the book for TV and left pretty much every scene in the filmed version. Sure, we could adapt it for TV here, too, but I doubt anyone would watch it.
- The Master and Margarita was written in Russian and just has to be in Russian. Somehow, I cannot see Hollywood writing a Russian script and hiring Russians to act in it. (And if they did, they’d probably do something stupid like cast Mila Kunis in it. Not only does she not look like any character in the book, but her Russian is actually quite horrendous.)
The most egregious, offensive part of the aforementioned blog comment was the commenter’s suggestion that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart should play the title roles (of the master and Margarita, the characters the novel is named after). That was possibly the most repulsive thing I’ve read in a really long time. Not only are they totally unsuited to those respective roles, but they are just terrible in general. Robert Pattinson is not attractive (seriously, all these women who are mooning over him, I want to ask you: what do you see that I don’t see?) and Kristen Stewart is plain annoying. The thought of these two in the most important roles is horrifying. As my violin teacher once said, gag me with a goat.
This isn’t to suggest that Americans are too crass and uncultured to adapt a great work of Russian literature – I wouldn’t watch a Russian version of The Great Gatsby, for example. And a French version of The Count of Monte Cristo would be better than an American or Russian version. (Though sadly, I can only read The Count of Monte Cristo in English or Russian translation, as I unfortunately do not know French.)
As far as I’m concerned, there is no need for another version of The Master and Margarita right now, as the recent Russian serial is quite good. But if you were to make your own adaptation, who would you cast?