The author of Tulip Fever has shared her struggles with getting the movie adaptation made with Harvey Weinstein.
Deborah Moggach was speaking at Hay festival when she told the audience about the “nightmare” process while discussing her novel with fellow author Tracy Chevalier, who wrote The Girl with a Pearl Earring.
Chevalier and Moggach’s books were optioned around the same time twenty years ago and the former’s movie adaptation went pretty smoothly.
“Mine was a complete nightmare from start to finish … a ghastly disaster,” said Moggach according to the Guardian.
Her book was optioned by Steven Spielberg but in development it went through several screenwriters.
“It was me, they bumped me off,” said Moggach. “It was Lee Hall, bumped him off, Moira Buffini, bumped her off, Christopher Hampton, bumped him off, Tom Stoppard, he sort of vaguely did it in the end with all these other ones.
“They lost track of what the film was supposed to be about. They had endless meetings, they were second-guessing Spielberg. There was no integrity to it. And the thing was, the book was like a film, they didn’t have to do anything really.”
The film was meant to be made in 2004 with Jim Broadbent, Keira Knightley and Jude Law, but Gordon Brown, UK Chancellor at the time closed a tax credit loophole for films so the production was halted.
Moggach said that Harvey Weinstein swooped in and made everything worse.
“He did actually make the film but everything went wrong,” she recalled. “It was a complete nightmare because he [Weinstein] kept on interfering with it, he was very, very bossy.
“When it was just about to be released, he kept pulling it from the cinemas because he kept on fiddling with it because he’s a bully. Then just as it was about to be released … the whole sex scandal blows up.”
Tulip Fever was eventually released in December 2018 and earned just £6.6 million worldwide.
On Rotten Tomatoes it carries a 10% approval rating based on 59 reviews.