Literary Film Adaptation for Screen Production: the Analysis of Style Adaptation in the Film Naked Lunch from a Quantitative and Descriptive Perspective
Torres Vergara, Alejandro
The study of film adaptations, particularly those coming from literature, has been growing at a rapid rate during the last years due to the amount of adaptations coming from both mainstream and independent film industries. The focus of these studies though is generally addressed to best sellers where the literary style is clearly adaptable to the screen; however, there are cases where the adaptive process has resulted in an entirely different outcome. Naked Lunch, written by William Burroughs and adapted to screen by David Cronenberg, represents a bold change if compared with other novels turned into films. The purpose of this article is to descriptively analyse the literary style in order to understand how it has been represented and adapted into Cronenberg’s film. The analysis will be performed helped with computer-based tools to support statements, using the novel itself as corpus and adding theoretical ideas from Leech and Short’s perspectives. The results suggest that the author’s corrosive, sexually-fuelled claustrophobic style has been translated following three patterns in terms of adaptation theory, although Burroughs, in the hands of Cronenberg, becomes an almost new classification of adaptation, not only adding literary features to the film, but also distinguishable core moments of the writer’s life to the final product. The analysis conducted encourages the study of other uncommon adaptations from literary authors in order to understand the adaptive process followed by filmmakers.