This has the potential to be either awesome (like Peter Jackson's adaptation of Lord of the Rings, for instance) or horrific (like the movie adaptation of Bonfire off the Vanities, for instance). The Pillars of the Earth is one of my favorite pulp reads — the apex of Ken Follet's talents for plotting and vivid bad guys.
Clearly the producers recognize that a movie is a fundamentally different art form than a book, and have acted accordingly — the plotline described on the site differs substantially from that of the book, which is epic. We'll see whether they manage to capture what makes the book great even after telescoping the story. They've certainly got the actors to make it work — Ian McShane and Donald Sutherland are exceptional.
I note that it's being released on the Starz network, which gives the producers freedom they wouldn't have on network television. If the Pillars of the Earth miniseries is a success, it will be a yet another example of networks that used to just replay old content producing their own top-notch entertainment — like TNT, AMC, and others before them.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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