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Peter T Chattaway

The Pillars of the Earth

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"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The book was pretty good; haven't gotten around to the sequel yet. I'd probably watch that show.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Ken Follett novel shot in Hungary

FOT, Hungary – Ken Follett made his name writing spy thrillers like "Eye of the Needle." But the book that has won him the most critical, and eventually popular, acclaim is a nearly 1,000-page novel about the construction of an English cathedral in the 12th century.

Now, "The Pillars of the Earth" is being turned into a Ridley Scott-produced miniseries starring Donald Sutherland, Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell; shot in Hungary and Austria, it is to air by June 2010.

Follett said that while he had received offers to turn the book into a two- to four-hour film, only Scott was willing to commit to an extended version that would capture the book's complexities. . . .

Follett, 60, said he was very pleased with the screenplay for the miniseries written by John Pielmeier. . . .

Pielmeier, who also played monk Cuthbert Whitehead in the miniseries, said the story was rooted in an age when people were willing to devote several generations to a single edifice.

"We've lost a certain amount of faith, not in a literal religious way, a faith in our future," Pielmeier said. "The faith that people had to embark on an endeavor of such size ... taking a job that you know you will never see the end of. It's something people today wouldn't be able to do."

A 1985 film adaptation of Pielmeier's play, "Agnes of God," about a novice nun who claims her pregnancy was the result of a virgin conception, starred Jane Fonda. Pielmeier has also acted in a few made-for-television movies. . . .

Associated Press, December 7


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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pillars would be in my top 10 for sure...


I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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Starz Ent. nabs rights to 'Pillars of the Earth'

In its first major acquisition since Chris Albrecht took over as chairman and CEO, Starz Entertainment has nabbed U.S. television rights to "The Pillars of the Earth," a $40 million, eight-part miniseries based on Ken Follett's best-seller about the building of a cathedral in 12th century England. . . .

"I'm a believer in the power of event television, so 'The Pillars of the Earth' is precisely the kind of programming I want to showcase on Starz," Albrecht said.

He said he was looking to do original programming in the summer and, with nothing in Starz's production pipeline, he looked outside and screened footage from "Pillars." . . .

Hollywood Reporter, March 1


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Scott Free, Tandem team on 'World'

BERLIN -- Scott Free and Tandem Communications are re-teaming on a miniseries adaptation of Ken Follett's "World Without End," the sequel to "The Pillars of the Earth."

"Pillars" writer John Pielmeier is returning to adapt the bestseller for a possible eight-hour series. Starz, which is airing "Pillars" in July, has agreed to co-finance development with Tandem and has an option for U.S. rights to the project. . . .

Set in the same medieval town of Kingsbridge but taking place 200 years later, "World Without End" unfolds against the backdrop of scourge and pestilence as Europe is plunged into the Hundred Years' War and enveloped by the Black Death. Featuring descendants of the original characters, the story follows four of the town's residents whose lives are shaped and twisted by a violent and mysterious childhood incident as they journey through turbulent times and ultimately reunited again by ambition, greed, love and revenge. . . .

"World Without End" is the latest joint project from Scott Free and Tandem. In addition to the $40 million "Pillars," the companies are also producing an adaptation of Robert Harris' historical novel "Pompeii" with Sony Pictures Television.

For Starz, "World Without End" marks yet another new historical property; the pay cabler just announced it was developing the medieval period drama "William the Conqueror" with Ben Silverman's Electus. It's also bringing the legend of King Arthur to U.S. auds with "Camelot" and is currently selling its sword-and-sandals hit "Spartucs: Blood and Sand" at the Mip TV mart in Cannes.

Variety, April 13


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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As a novel, World Without End did not hold up nearly as well as Pillars of the Earth--even the description posted makes it sound like an enormous soap opera, whereas Pillars at least has the unifying theme of the cathedral at its heart. I guess it's possible that a TV series version could work better than the novel, though.


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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is anyone watching this series? if so, how is it so far? a good adaptation? or worth watching in its own right?


I don't deny that there should be priests to remind men that they will one day die. I only say it is necessary to have another kind of priests, called poets, to remind men that they are not dead yet. - G. K. Chesterton

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is anyone watching this series? if so, how is it so far? a good adaptation? or worth watching in its own right?

I tried because it looked like it had potential. I also tried to give it a benefit of a doubt when things started looking bad because I'm a huge Ian McShane fan.

It blows. Really bad acting (except for maybe 3 characters, but one of them doesn't even last very long). Horribly written script (the dialogue is just corny and that's actually an understatement, McShane seems to be making a tremendous effort to make something out of it but it's severely limiting what he can do). Poorly developed characters (the story seems like it has so much potential, but they were actually making me dislike characters that it was pretty obvious I was supposed to like). In summary, it's suprising that Stars had such a good opportunity here, and obviously spent money on it, but the end product is crap.

I won't make the mistake of trying another episode.

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Just got this on DVD--duty compels me to see for myself just how bad (or good) it might actually be.

Episode one put me to sleep just before the big finish, which may say something about how not particularly "big" it was.

Agree that most of the actors seem to be underplaying in a big way, except for a few hammy villains. The dialogue is weak--this is a general problem for historical films & novels. The difficulty is striking a happy medium between having everyone speak actual Anglo-Norman (won't sell) or making them sound like they're reading from the KJV (which would also be anachronistic, of course, but most 21st c. audiences can't tell the difference between 16th c. English and 12th c.), or having them talk like your neighbors. The latter is probably better, as long as you don't throw in really anachronistic phrases based on modern technology, for example. But nothing can save dialogue from old-fashioned tin-ear disease, which also existed in Chaucer's day. Still, I don't see why actors should have to put up with lines like "It was given to [name] and I"--even 12th c. people understood objective pronouns--or why "Waleran Bigod" should be pronounced Way-leran By-god instead of properly: Wah-leran Bee-god. That's probably why Ian McShane's acting is so uncharacteristically bad--he can't believe his character with the name mispronounced like that.

On to episode two...


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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