Recently, I exchanged a few messages with Rudolfo Anaya concerning the upcoming movie of Bless Me, Ultima. I was curious about the role of a writer when one of his or her books is given the ultimate visual treatment. Had he seen the movie, and, if so, what was his opinion? What role did he play in the production and what did he think of the finished product? Is he wary about the reception his readers might give to the movie? How did he relate to the re-fashioning of his beloved story by someone else?
Mr. Anaya kindly responded and I have the privilege of repeating his comments here on La Bloga. In case you didn't see the trailer of the movie that I posted two weeks ago, click here for your own private preview.
Now, here's Rudy:
The producers brought the Bless Me, Ultima movie to Alburquerque for a private screening for my family and friends. The movie is excellent, it captures the story and characters. Every single person attending the screening gave it fantastic, positive reviews.
I am positive la gente is going to love the movie. Like my friend John Nichols said, a novel becomes a short story when turned into a movie. Don't expect to see the full novel on screen. Everyone knows that.
Carl Franklin did a great job with the story and bringing characters together as familia. Except for Miriam Colón, the cast are actors that don't have big celebrity names. I hope they do after their roles in the movie. Everyone did excellent work.
Carl Franklin, the director, did talk to me and asked me questions, but the screenplay is his work. I approved his work. Some themes in the novel are left out, but the story works.
I met the director several times here at our home. I was invited to play a role in the movie and attend all shooting events, but I stayed home. My feeling was to let them do their work. I don't make movies.
I met all the actors at the cast party. They had only positive things to say of the process. Miriam Colón visited me here at our home. She is lovely, a perfect Ultima. Her face shines in the movie, so does Luke (Ganalon) who plays Antonio.
Get it to Denver, the people will love it. Will there be critics? Of course. All art is criticized if only by responding to it. Let the people enjoy and judge. I feel confident the movie will be around in 50 years.
tu amigo Rudolfo Anaya
I hope we all support this movie in the way that I am sure it deserves. We often complain about how our stories are not told - in books, television, or the movies. Here's our chance to put our money where our mouths are, as well as our butts in the theater seats. Don't let it slip away.