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Steven Soderbergh Tackles The Sot-Weed Factor

The Sot-Weed Factor is a book that’s difficult to appreciate. But when you do “get it,” you really appreciate it.

The novel’s style of humor reminds me of something you might see in Monty Python or The Princess Bride. It’s certainly a twisted satire.

For the life of me, though, I can’t see how this novel would ever translate to screen, big or small. It’s more than 700 pages, set in the 16th century, and includes dozens of stories within stories.

But Steven Soderbergh apparently likes a challenge. You know him as the director of the Oceans 11/12/13 movies, Traffic, Magic Mike, and a crapload of others. Earlier this year, he told Entertainment Weekly that he’ll be adapting The Sot-Weed Factor into a series containing 12 one-hour episodes.

“I think I’ve come up with a solve to do it cheaply. It’s bold. If it works, it’ll be super cool. And if it doesn’t, you won’t be able to watch ten minutes of it,” he says. “I don’t want to make a f—ing $85 million, 12-hour comedy set in the [1600s]. That’s why I started thinking this way.”

Let’s hope it’s super cool and we’ll be able to watch more than 10 minutes of it.

No word yet on where or when the series will air. Soderbergh says he’s open for web-only distribution or a Netflix exclusivity deal similar to House of Cards.

I’ll definitely tune in.

This is one of the most unique novels I’ve ever read, and I’m interested to see how Soderbergh makes it work on screen.

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

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11 Comments Post a comment
  1. sally1137 #

    It’s definitely not a book to speed read. But it is rich and funny. I get a cup of espresso and read a (marvelously named) chapter. I’m keeping track of the expletives on a 3×5 card bookmark. ‘Swounds! ‘Sbreath! (short of course for God’s wounds and God’s breath). Love it.

    Like

    October 22, 2013
    • Glad you’re liking it. I think it only gets better too.

      Like

      October 22, 2013
  2. haideeab74 #

    Reblogged this on Fabulous fashions & Amazing discounts.

    Like

    October 22, 2013
  3. Ted Fontenot #

    I have the same feeling as Robert. The novel is much too much of an extended foray into literary experiment for it to translate well to cinema, I fear. The one thing, though, it has going for it is its wild and complicated plot with colorful, eccentric characters. Anyway, I hope it works out.

    I think other novels would lend themselves to a series on Cable TV better than a feature. Giles Goat-Boy could benefit from such an approach. An abomination of a movie was made of The Magus way back when. I think it is a plot-driven story, a very suspenseful literary thriller, in fact, that could benefit from a series approach. Thomas Berger’s episodic Little Big Man would also work well, I think. Heck, I’d love to see someone take on To Kill A Mockingbird. Feature movies rarely give great books their just due–they really aren’t able to–and when they are great in their own right, like with John Ford’s rendition of The Grapes of Wrath, it necessarily has to take great liberties.

    Like

    October 22, 2013
    • The good thing is that it won’t be a movie, but a 12 hour series instead. Still not sure, though. I’ll definitely be watching either way.

      Like

      October 22, 2013
  4. What exactly about the novel makes it unique? Care to share details?

    Like

    October 22, 2013
    • Sure. Check out my past few posts about the book and stay tuned to my upcoming posts. I talk a lot about the original aspects of the book in those posts.

      Like

      October 22, 2013
      • Haha, clever, directing me to your other posts. I shall, with great pleasure.

        Like

        October 25, 2013
  5. There’s a number of great works that should not even be touched. They were never meant to be filmed. I have come to the conclusion that The Great Gatsby is another that should never have been filmed. I have hated every version, some more than others. Baz Lahrman’s is the worst. Redford’s may be the best.

    Like

    October 23, 2013

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  1. Book #63: The Sot-Weed Factor | 101 Books

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