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Essays + Interviews [imagemap with 8 links]
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About the Film
The story of The American

The American is a fantastic love story laced with intrigue. It's got elements of Romeo and Juliet -- a story about forbidden love.

A Talk with Screenwriter Michael Hastings
A playwright accepts the challenge of adapting James to the screen.

James is trying to often invoke extraordinary experiences and presences in the air. It is a mysterious and beautiful quality he's got as a writer. But on film, you've got to get on with it. The principal characters are needed on the screen in front of your eyes, in my view.

A Talk with Diana Rigg
The award-winning actress talks about mothers, malice and melodrama.

"Which do I prefer playing, heroines or villains? Villains every time."

A Talk with Matthew Modine
An American becomes The American.

Film requires a different language than that of a novelist.... Novels are written by individuals, shaped by their editors or very close friends. Films are made by writers, directors, actors, and producers. Everyone interprets the words of the novel differently. It's a wonderful, magical frustration!...

The American on the Printed Page
The master's major themes emerge in this early novel.

No marriage, no happy ending -- the romance [in The American] turns to dust and ashes. William Dean Howells of the Atlantic Monthly [his editor] pleaded with James to let the hero and heroine be united in the final chapters of the serial. James's lady friends in Rome and in London beseeched him to allow Newman to place the ring on Claire de Cintré's aristocratic finger...

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