thinking abot 'ritidg a novel, and then there's a knock '. ' the door and someone says. ‘We start filming next Week, and it‘s Leo!‘
AG: He‘s not Leo Vitthe film. That‘s the
difference betweé‘ and 80% of other actors — even" if " brilliant actor like Robert De Nirb‘.‘ r vvis Bickle is also somehow around in King Of Cmned'v, on the periphery. That doesn"t happen with DiCaprio; he‘s not that kid in Titanic, when you’re watching The Beach.
“I: In the book. the relationship between Richard and Francoise is never taken to its final stage. In thefilm, I suppose it’s less subtle: a relationship that goes wrong, rather than a relationship that exists in his head and screws him up.
AG: Of the criticisms that you can anticipate being levelled at the film. one of them is bound to be Hollywood commercialisation — why DiCaprio. why is there a sex scene. why is the character American? But when you
actually see the film. these criticisms just dissolve. because yousee why they‘re there. And there's a limit to how proprietorial you can feel about it. By the time I went out to Thailand. there were people there who‘d been working on the film for longer than it took me to write it. The film and the book are different things; it‘s like they‘re cousins. They share some genes.
JH: Still, sometimes it’s nice when a writer can see all the sets and the filming going on. and think: ‘All mine. My creation.’
AG: [I’m under] massive and explicit pressure [to repeat the success of The Beach], and it‘s fucking irritating. I get my publisher calling me up and saying ‘Write something successful now!‘ But it‘s quite difficult to write with something as big as this film hanging over you. The fantasy I have is that I‘ll take such a long time writing another novel that I’ll be distanced from everything that‘s gone before. Going by the fact that I haven't started one yet, that might well be the case. My fifteen minutes are up!
I": They‘ll put Leo on the cover of the book now.
AG: They have. The American version of the book says ‘LEONARDO DICAPRIO’ across the top, and then ‘Alex Garland’ at the bottom. It looks like he wrote it.
The Beach opens on Fri 11 Feb and will be reviewed next issue. The film tie-in edition of the novel is published by Penguin on Fri 4 Feb, priced £6.99. For the chance to win tickets to a special preview screening of The Beach, see page 103.
20 Jan—3 Feb 2000 THE “ST?