The television adaptation of Stephenie Danler’s Sweetbitter premiered on Starz almost a month ago. While many books are adapted for the screen by professional screenwriters, some adaptations are written by the authors of the source materials. Such is the case with Danler, who has shared her experience making her novel into a story fit for the small screen.
Sweetbitter follows a young woman who moves to New York City in order to pursue a new life and ends up getting a job at one of the best restaurants in the city. The book is made up of short vignettes, which made the process of adapting it for the screen easier. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Danler explained, “Usually when you’re adapting from a novel you’re taking thirty pages and trying to turn it into three pages of dialogue, but the book already moves at that pace.”
Image Via Vulture
One of the biggest obstacles for Danler was to not “overwrite” stage directions. Books are made for describing emotion in great detail, but on screen, actions and body language have to show these emotions instead. “My inclination was to direct through stage direction. What I’ve learned now…is that directions are for the director and the actor,” Danler said. She admitted that, as a novelist, it was hard for her to not micromanage at first, but she quickly learned that the screenplay worked better when she let go of some of the control.
Sweetbitter airs on Sundays on Starz. You can pick up the book here on Amazon.
Feature Image Via Vanity Fair