“Screwtape Letters”: The Movie

Yet another seemingly unlikely book by C. S. Lewis is getting made into a movie:

Ralph Winter, producer of the X-Men films and a self-professed Christian, is set to produce the film version of The Screwtape Letters in a partnership with Fox and Walden Media, the studio that produced the Narnia films, as well as Bridge to Terabithia and Charlotte’s Web.

Fox has owned the film rights to The Screwtape Letters since the 1950s, and adapting Lewis’ 1942 satirical novel for the big screen has been an endeavor of epic proportions. The book is composed of a series of letters from the veteran demon Screwtape to his junior “tempter” nephew, Wormwood, on the best ways to bring about the spiritual downfall of his target, a British man known simply as “the Patient.”

Winter told The Christian Post last year that producers hoped to attach director Scott Dickerson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) to the film, which likely be rated PG-13, because it is “edgy, serious material.”

While the film is on a “fast track” and a 2012 release is likely, Winter is in no hurry to get it into theaters. “I don’t want to be known as the guy who ruined it,” he said. “So I’m gonna go slow … We’ll get there in God’s timing and when it’s right.”

via Cathleen Falsani: Christian Film? What Should Be Coming to a Theater Near You.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • larry

    Oh man. One of my favorite CS Lewis books. For years I’ve told my wife if it could be done it should, but how would be tough.

  • larry

    Oh man. One of my favorite CS Lewis books. For years I’ve told my wife if it could be done it should, but how would be tough.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    How on earth does he intend to make a movie out of this? It’s not really a plot-driven book.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    How on earth does he intend to make a movie out of this? It’s not really a plot-driven book.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    They did make a successful play out of the novel, which I’m told worked quite well. So maybe it could be translated into film. There actually is a plot that links the letters–the events in the life (and death) of the “Patient”–but of course the meat of the book is in the commentary on that life. I agree about how hard that would be. I wish I had seen the play, though sometimes translating a play to film is also difficult.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    They did make a successful play out of the novel, which I’m told worked quite well. So maybe it could be translated into film. There actually is a plot that links the letters–the events in the life (and death) of the “Patient”–but of course the meat of the book is in the commentary on that life. I agree about how hard that would be. I wish I had seen the play, though sometimes translating a play to film is also difficult.

  • Tom Hering

    The interview with Ralph Winter that the article links to. He talks about the challenge of translating to film.

    http://video.christianpost.com/interview-with-ralph-winter-about-upcoming-film-version-of-the-screwtape-letters-1965/

  • Tom Hering

    The interview with Ralph Winter that the article links to. He talks about the challenge of translating to film.

    http://video.christianpost.com/interview-with-ralph-winter-about-upcoming-film-version-of-the-screwtape-letters-1965/

  • larry

    The movie Forest Gump is not too far from the mark of this style and it did very well.

  • larry

    The movie Forest Gump is not too far from the mark of this style and it did very well.

  • Anthony Sacramone

    My wife and I saw the play in New York, with Max McLean. Max was (and may still be) the equivalent of a lector at Redeemer Presbyterian Church when I was a member there. You have not heard the reading of the day until you’ve heard Max read it.

    As far as a film version goes, there are myriad possibilities for the dramatization of Wormwood’s attempts to turn his would-be victim away from his faith, even as Screwtape reads the letters. My vote for Screwtape (assuming they want to go Hollywood): Frank Langella. (Pacino’s already done the devil to death, so to speak.)

  • Anthony Sacramone

    My wife and I saw the play in New York, with Max McLean. Max was (and may still be) the equivalent of a lector at Redeemer Presbyterian Church when I was a member there. You have not heard the reading of the day until you’ve heard Max read it.

    As far as a film version goes, there are myriad possibilities for the dramatization of Wormwood’s attempts to turn his would-be victim away from his faith, even as Screwtape reads the letters. My vote for Screwtape (assuming they want to go Hollywood): Frank Langella. (Pacino’s already done the devil to death, so to speak.)

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I don’t know, I think Anthony Hopkins would make a good Screwtape as well.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I don’t know, I think Anthony Hopkins would make a good Screwtape as well.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    So you went to Redeemer, Anthony Sacramone, a very well-regarded Reformed Church. At some point I hope you blog about how you came around to Lutheranism from that and became Luther at the Movies.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    So you went to Redeemer, Anthony Sacramone, a very well-regarded Reformed Church. At some point I hope you blog about how you came around to Lutheranism from that and became Luther at the Movies.

  • B. Pope

    Whomever is chosen for the leads, Screwtape will all but certainly be an upside surprise in the box office if well done – and it certainly sounds like being well done is not in question….Don’t make us wait too long Ralph, we can’t wait to see it!

  • B. Pope

    Whomever is chosen for the leads, Screwtape will all but certainly be an upside surprise in the box office if well done – and it certainly sounds like being well done is not in question….Don’t make us wait too long Ralph, we can’t wait to see it!

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