Artemis Fowl actor Josh Gad says direct-to-digital release on Disney+ will be a distraction from ‘craziness we’re surrounded by’


Hollywood star Josh Gad says adapting books for the screen is a tricky business as filmmakers are required to toe the fine line between staying true to the source material while avoiding a word-for-word translation.

Gad, the star of Disney blockbusters such as Frozen series (where he voiced Olaf) and Beauty and the Beast (as LeFou), currently features in filmmaker Kenneth Branagh”s take on Irish author Eoin Colfer’s magical fantasy book series Artemis Fowl.

The 39-year-old actor said a filmmaker must find his own voice when adapting a book.

 Artemis Fowl actor Josh Gad says direct-to-digital release on Disney+ will be a distraction from craziness were surrounded by

Josh Gad. Image from Twitter

“They require two different narrative structures. And while I think the book is an incredible and masterful form, if you just literally recreated moment by moment, then is it even necessary?

“There are certain franchises like Lord of the Rings that take their own liberties. Sometimes more sometimes less. Game of Thrones, same thing. So it’s a fine line that yet you can”t necessarily just do word-for-word,” Gad said in an interview to international media, including PTI.

His favourite book-to-screen translations, Gad said, are Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park series that was based on Michael Crichton’s 1990 novel, and Alfonso Cuaron’s take on JK Rowling’s third Harry Potter book, The Prisoner of Azkaban.

“Books are very tricky to adapt. Some of my favourite books have been subsequently adapted into some of my favourite films, like Jurassic Park, which is very, very different than the book.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which is a brilliant book but is very different from the incredible masterpiece that Alfonso Cuaron created. It wasn’t slave-ish and didn’t go scene by scene from the book.”

The actor, a Disney regular, praised both director Branagh and author Colfer for Artemis Fowl.

“I feel so incredibly proud of what Kenneth did with the film. I can safely tell any viewer of the movie that Eoin Colfer was on our set constantly, guiding us and advising us. It wasn’t like this was done in a bubble. This was done with the author”s permission and his partnership. We have an amazing movie that is an incredible companion to the Artemis Fowl books,” he added.

Gad stars in the movie alongside the likes of Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Colin Farrell, Nonso Anozie and Judi Dench. The film is set to debut on Disney+ Hotstar on 12 June.

The film is among the titles that are landing directly on streaming platforms, bypassing the traditional theatrical release window as movie halls remain closed everywhere. The other movies that have opted for streaming platforms include The Lovebirds, Greyhound and An American Pickle.

Asked about the filmmaker’s decision to release the film directly on a streamer, Gad said one has to take into account the reality brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in an unprecedented moment where going to the theatre means potentially risking your health. That’s a reality that I don”t think any of us could have imagined. I do know that one day we’re all going to be able to go to cinemas again, and I can’t wait for that day,” he said.

“Nobody is a bigger fan of the movie-going experience than me. I love sitting in a dark theatre with an audience and going on an emotional rollercoaster, sharing those laughs, sharing those gasps, all of it.”

Gad said the film’s debut on a streaming platform will ensure the smooth running of the content cycle and at the same time, it will also distract the people from the “craziness” of the world. It was reported in April that Artemis Fowl was initially set to have its worldwide release on 29 May.

“Now more than ever we need an escape, we need entertainment. We need a chance to not think about the craziness that we’re surrounded by. So knowing that I can sit in my house and watch a movie like Artemis Fowl with my kids, makes me profoundly grateful,” he said.

“Without it, we would run out of content pretty quickly that we could share as a family. I think that there”s a healthy balance.”

In Artemis Fowl, he plays Mulch Diggums, a giant dwarf who along with an elven officer (Lara) and a butler (Nonso) becomes an ally of the child prodigy Artemis Fowl II in his quest to save his father from mysterious evil forces.

“What resonated for me when I got the call from Ken (Branagh) to come and play this part was the brilliance of creation by Eoin Colfer. I went back to the source material to get a sense of who this guy was. But I”ve never read a character that was anywhere near resembling Mulch.

“My character is a guy who literally feasts on the earth in order to dig his way into banks and break in to vaults. He’s a guy who has a very unhealthy bowel cycle with everything he eats as he is infamously portrayed in the books. So he struck me as such an original character and I was drawn to that.”

(With inputs from Press Trust of India)

Updated Date: Jun 09, 2020 15:22:14 IST

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