Edward Willett

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Tim Hildebrand’s acting career stretches from Caronport to Cannes

I wrote this article for Refined Saskatoon; you can see it in the context of the magazine here. Back in 2007, I performed with Tim in Beauty and the Beast at Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon, the very first show in the then brand-new theatre. (Our Beast was Paul Alexander Nolan, currently heading to Broadway again in the Jimmy Buffett jukebox musical Escape to Margaritaville; I profiled him here.) When Tim Hildebrand was in Grade 1 in Caronport, he longed to get to Grade 5, so he could be in an “actual play”—the annual Christmas pageant. “I remember waiting for four years just to get a chance to ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 11:08, August 29th, 2017 under Blog, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

Why books are better than the movies made from them

My 11-year-old daughter Alice and I, during a before-school stop in a coffee shop this morning, were discussing books that have been made into movies: specifically The Hunger Games, which won several People’s Choice Awards last night. “Why are the books always so much better than the movies?” asked Alice. A question for the ages. From her point of view, what’s wrong with movies is that they leave stuff out. She loved the look of the Harry Potter movies—but she didn’t like the changes they made to the story. That’s certainly one problem people have with movie adaptations of their favorite books. ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 10:01, January 10th, 2013 under Blog, Books, Writing and Editing | Comment now »

Saturday Special from the Vaults: The Bounty Mutiny: From the Court Case to the Movie

One of the more interesting projects I undertook for Enslow Publishers was a history of the famous Mutiny on the Bounty, comparing the real-life events to the way they were portrayed in the movie starring Anthony Hopkins as William Bligh and Mel Gibson as Fletcher Christian that came out in the 1980s. I've always enjoyed reading about life at sea in the 19th century, so this was a natural fit. And honestly, what other book of mine is likely to have Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson on the cover? I came away from the project with a great admiration for William Bligh, who is surely one of ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:09, March 31st, 2012 under Blog, Books, The Vaults | Comment now »

From Squid to Eternity

Margaret Atwood (in)famously referred to science fiction as "talking squids in outer space," a remark to which I would take great umbrage if not for the fact that my DAW novel Lost in Translation contains a character, Karak, master of the Guild of Translators, described thusly:  Free of the watersuit and its exoskeleton, his shape was nothing bipedal at all; his almost globular, iridescent body, from which writhed six locomotive tentacles and six manipulators, moved through the water with boneless grace, gill-slits pulsating below the fringe of feeding-tentacles that encircled his beak.  It seemed odd to hear perfect home-planet S’sinn emerging from that alien mouth. For all intents and purposes, then, Lost in Translation ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 9:31, February 17th, 2011 under Blog | 2 Comments »

The first sentence I wrote today…

...for Blue Fire was: The much-diminished caravan of Freefolk Clan Diannan had only been on the road for an hour the next morning when the attack came. Words today: 2,277 Words thus far: 42,652 A good morning's work. I'm getting close to 200 manuscript pages on this story. I think it's going to need considerable pruning when I get to rewriting, but the plot is advancing well. I spent the mid-day wearing my editor-of-Fine-Lifestyles-Regina hat, then turned into Lee Arthur Chane in the afternoon and worked on Magebane. I'm still (again) rewriting more than writing, but I really think I've got my plot demons licked this time. (Sounds like a fantasy-novel curse, actually. "Oh, ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 0:24, July 28th, 2009 under Blog | Comment now »

Lensmen: the movie

This is cool news: J. Michael Straczynski, creator of the late, lamented Babylon 5, has written a script for a movie adaptation of the Lensmen series by E.E. "Doc" Smith. I devoured these classic space operas as a kid. The scale of, well, everything was enormous: ships the size of moons (long before the Death Star--Star Wars is small potatoes compared to Lensmen series, although there are a lot of similarities). Psychic abilities magnified by mysterious Lenses created by an incredibly advanced race to help in the battle against an equally advanced but EEEVIL race...men in space armor battling it out in hand-to-hand combat in ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 0:08, June 30th, 2009 under Blog | 3 Comments »

My review of Saturday’s Regina Symphony Orchestra concert…

...is now online, headlined "RSO scores again with movies." Here's how it starts:Halfway through the second half of the Regina Symphony Orchestra's 10th annual The RSO Goes to the Oscars movie-music concert, Maestro Victor Sawa commented on the versatility of movie composers, who may find themselves writing theme music for sharks in one movie and mood music for superheroes in the next.But it wasn't just the composers' versatility on display Saturday night -- the RSO once again proved that it can tackle any style of music with verve.It may have helped that superheroes Batman (on timpani) and Iron Man (on viola) were lending a hand, on a night that also saw a family ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:17, March 23rd, 2009 under Blog | Comment now »

My preview of the Regina Symphony Orchestra’s movie music concert…

..., RSO Goes to the Oscars, is in today's LeaderPost.Here's a bit from the middle:For Sawa, switching from symphonies to soundtracks is natural.In a strange way, he says, "we owe a debt of gratitude to the Nazis. Oscar Hammerstein, Max Steiner, Eric Korngold, Bernard Hermann, Franz Waxman -- they all came over because they were being persecuted in Europe."The entire Hollywood sound was created by the classical composers of Europe."When we talk about classical music and how it survived the second half of the 20th century, everyone was going to the movies, they were listening to classical music."The snob factor is missing when you go to the ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 15:52, March 19th, 2009 under Blog | Comment now »

A defense of "hokey" endings

I've been enjoying Andrew Breitbart's new BigHollywood group blog very much, and liked this quote, from John Nolte's commentary on the Alfred Hitchcock film Notorious, in which he takes issue with those who think its ending is "hokey":“Hokey” isn’t the result of a story point, “hokey” is the result of the execution of the story point, something “Notorious” proves definitively.Why have we allowed ourselves to buy into the idea that uplifting endings are old-fashioned and “hokey?” Nihilism may never be hokey, but it sure can be lazy. Ending a film on a downer and calling it complicated and nuanced requires almost no work compared to crafting a climax that lifts the human spirit.“Notorious” ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 16:42, January 18th, 2009 under Blog | Comment now »

Books, movies, reality are all equally disgusting–and that’s a good thing!

I write nonfiction (obviously), but I also write science fiction and fantasy.We who write such stuff are occasionally asked (and occasionally wonder) if our works can continue to compete in a media universe in which “science fiction” and “fantasy” conjure up for most people Hollywood special-effects extravaganzas first, and the written word second (if at all).I was therefore heartened to read of a recent scientific study that indicates that books are every bit as good at stirring emotions as movies.(Alas, the particular emotion being studied was disgust, which is one most writers--Stephen King perhaps being the exception--only occasionally wish to invoke for fear the disgust will spill over from specific scenes to the entire ...

Posted by Edward Willett at 17:04, August 25th, 2008 under Blog, Science Columns | Comment now »