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Writer Emma Donoghue had a strong sense of what her novel Room might be like as a movie, so she wrote a screenplay version before the book was even published. Director Lenny Abrahamson read and loved the book, but never thought he'd have the chance to direct the film adaptation. Still, he had to try. We revisit our conversation with Abrahamson and Donoghue as they tell us how they came to team up, and talk about the challenges of making a film on a dark topic that people will still want to see. Plus, an all new Hollywood news banter.

Photo: Writer Emma Donoghue on the set of Room, courtesy of A24.

Hollywood News Banter 7 MIN, 28 SEC

Matt Belloni, executive editor of the Hollywood Reporter joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • Oscar nominations are out, and once again the nominees are shockingly white and mostly male. Some nice surprise nominations for Room, but a major snub for Ridley Scott, who was failed to be nominated for Best Director.
  • A rare fumble for Disney CEO Bob Iger, who backed a plan for football teams to move to an LA stadium in Carson. Instead, the NFL opted to bring the Rams to Inglewood.

Matthew Belloni, Hollywood Reporter (@THRMattBelloni)

Lenny Abrahamson and Emma Donoghue: Room 19 MIN, 55 SEC

Room, the new movie based on Emma Donoghue's novel of the same name, tells the story of a mother, played by Brie Larson, and her son Jack, played by Jacob Tremblay. Larson is now Oscar nominated for Best Actress, as are Donoghue and Lenny Abrahamson for writing and directing, respectively.

As the movie begins, Jack and his mother are celebrating his birthday, but there's no ordinary party as he turns five. His mother was kidnapped years earlier, and has long been held in a small shed. Having been raped repeatedly by her captor, she has given birth to Jack. She has devoted her considerable imagination to raising him in as nurturing an environment as possible, given that they are trapped in Room -- the only world Jack has ever known.

Lenny Abrahamson, the director of Room, is an Irish filmmaker who got his start making beer commercials. His movies include the 2014 dark comedy, Frank, in which Michael Fassbender wears a giant paper mache head for most of the film. Not exactly mainstream fare.

Director Lenny Abrahamson and actor Jacob Tremblay on the set of "Room."
Courtesy of A24

Abrahamson was one of several filmmakers interested in making a movie version of Donoghue's Room, and he knew he wasn't an obvious choice. But Donoghue was particular about how the story should be told on the screen -- so much so that she decided to try writing a screenplay herself even before her book was published in 2010.

The two teamed up after Abrahamson wrote Donoghue a long letter explaining his vision for the film. Donoghue was impressed with the literary nature of his letter and the fact that he understood her references to Plato in the book. Their subsequent friendship and creative partnership on the film has defied the conventional wisdom that authors shouldn't adapt their own books for the screen.

Lenny Abrahamson, film and television director (@lennyabrahamson)
Emma Donoghue, playwright, literary historian and novelist (@EDonoghueWriter)


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

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