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Adapting for British and American Audiences
Transcript of Adapting for British and American Audiences
As a group with both British and American members, we became fascinated with the differences between American and British film and TV, specifically how the same film is adapted for different audiences.
In this presentation, we will look at differences between the two film industries, focusing specifically on two adaptations, and a brief discussion of TV to show how the industry adapts.
Pride & Prejudice
Bridget Jones' Diary (2001)
“Bridget Jones for American TV is the third really horrible cross-pond idea I’ve heard this year ... the things that make all these shows and movies great is their distinct British sensibility.” - Heather Hogan
BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) vs. MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America)
The United Kingdom
U: Universal, suitable for all; PG: Parental Guidance
12/12A: Suitable for 12 years and over; 15: Suitable for 15 years and over; 18: Suitable only for adults
The United States
G: General audiences PG: Parental guidance suggested PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned R: Restricted NC-17: No-one 17 and under admitted
Sex and Nudity vs. Violence and Dark/Aggressive tone
Culture, Industry and Marketing
• “How does the meaning of the relationship between a specific literary work and its filmic adaptation change from one cultural context to another?” (Scholz 660)
• “Always situated in the shadow of Pride and Prejudice, the choice of Sense and Sensibility as fare for an expensive Hollywood vehicle itself signalled what might be called an ‘Americanised’ change of approach to the Austen canon, one that privileged one of Austen’s ‘minor’ novels” (Scholz 662)
• “Film marketers’ chief task consists of creating buzz about a film property, converting public awareness into the all-important ‘want-to-see’ factor, and then delivering sufficient numbers of well-disposed audience-members’ posteriors to grace cinema seats.” (Murray 157)
“Concrete material interests, political and ideological differences, power relations based upon such variables as gender, nationality, and class all mould the ways texts are transformed into other media and received by audiences in very concrete, very materialistic ways.” (Scholz 679)
Murray, Simone. The Adaptation Industry: The Cultural Economy of Contemporary Literary Adaptation. New York: Routledge, 2012. Print.
"Same Difference-A Comparison of the British and American film and DVD Rating Systems." British Board of Film Classification. bbfc. 4 March 2011. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
Scholz, Anne-Marie. “Adaptation as Reception: How a Transnational Analysis of Hollywood Films Can Renew the Literature-to-Film Debates.” American Studies 54.4 (2009): 657-682. JSTOR. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.
The I.T. Crowd
“An American version of The IT Crowd was never a bad idea. With American audiences already going “bazinga” over nerd-based and workplace comedies, the combination seemed like a homerun. But it’s all in the execution, and The IT Crowd has a hard time letting go of its British base.” (Matt Schimkowitz, Splitsider)
“We had to make Michael Scott a slightly nicer guy, with a rosier outlook to life. He could still be childish, and insecure, and even a bore, but he couldn’t be too mean… Network America has to give people a reason to like you not just a reason to watch you.” (Ricky Gervais, Time)
In regards to the second season, “Producer Greg Daniels created not a copy but an interpretation that sends up distinctly American work conventions” (James Poniewozik, Time)
What do you think of these reasons
for changing aspects of films between
countries, and can you think of any other examples?