Emma Donoghue Talks About Adapting 'Room' for Film

"I knew that would make an odd-shaped film, but I had a feeling it would work somehow," the novelist and screenwriter says.

Novelist and screenwriter Emma Donoghue recently shared how she found her unique spin on telling the story of Room.

"I looked up things like say, video interviews with Elizabeth Smart, and then I got fascinated by the form itself," the screenwriter said during The Hollywood Reporter's Writer Roundtable. "I mean, the horror of these interviews, how incredibly nosy and intrusive they were.” 

Like her fellow author Roundtable participant Nick Hornby, Donoghue describes the differences involved in developing a story for a novel versus a film. "In fiction, you do anything, there’s no rules at all," she says. "So [the novel Room] is in two halves, and I knew that would make an odd-shaped film, but I had a feeling it would work somehow."

According to Donoghue, the pic worked so well, largely due to the talents of the cast (she commends Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay's performances) but also because of director Lenny Abrahamson. "There was no faceless executive telling me what to do — it was just one-to-one with Lenny around a kitchen table. But I remember him saying to me, 'Look, we could get a mainstream audience for this film, but only if we make it without compromise. We can't pander to them or we won't get them.' "

When it comes to her own personal writing process, Donoghue says, "I try to spend as little time as possible thinking whether I'm any good. I try not to have a distinct Donoghue style."

THR's Roundtables air on Sundance TV. The shows air Sunday at 8 a.m. PT on channel 557 on DirecTV, 126 on Dish nationwide and at 11 a.m. ET/PT on cable (channel 625 on TWC in L.A., 94 in NYC).

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