I had to read Tom Stoppard‘s The Real Inspector Hound for Extension English One, in Year 12, two years ago. We also had to “act” (in the sense that it was six of us sitting spread across a room for thirty, reading it out in whatever accents we could invent) it out so that we’d get a ‘better understanding’ (which is why I maintain Shakespeare shouldn’t be part of the English high school curriculum, unless it is seen and the students are examined on that) of the play.
I didn’t particularly hate it when I began, but, as per my usual school attitude, if I had to read it for school, it became a chore. However, by the end, Hound, I was involved with the text and quite enjoyed it. That’s not to say I enjoyed reading a play, but I didn’t hate it as I have others. Though this post isn’t going to be anything about Hound, I do recommend it as something of a unique piece of work because it does things I’ve never seen in the crime fiction genre or in short plays.
So when I found out that Stoppard supposedly had an uncredited rewrite of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade dialogue, and may even be writing the script for the next Bond film, I was quite surprised. What shocked me even more is that he is near-on seventy years old! Which means if he did have something to do with Star Wars, he would have been sixty-seven years old. Which got me thinking: just how tried-and-tested are the formulas that are making films these days? If a sixty-seven year old playwright, specialising in send-ups and satire, is called in to help on the dialogue on a Sci-Fi prequel film written for a 2005 audience (and, specifically, aimed at the Star Wars fans and the teenager-30s demographics), is too much praise and accolade being given to the writers and the like and not quite enough to the people who are actually bringing the film to life?