Israel Horovitz on How to Adapt a Play for the Screen

US theatrical poster for My Old Lady (Photo: Cohen Media Group)

Israel Horovitz is a celebrated playwright, screenwriter and director who has written over 70 plays, several of which have been translated into as many as 30 languages and performed worldwide. His play Line has been running for over 40 years in continuous performance Off-Broadway and is the longest running play in Manhattan. He is Founding Artistic Director of Gloucester Stage Company and the founder of the New York Playwrights Lab. He has written the screenplays for films including Author! Author! starring Al Pacino, Sunshine, The Strawberry Statement, 3 Weeks After Paradise and James Dean with James Franco in the title role. He recently adapted his play My Old Lady into a film starring Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas and Maggie Smith, and he reflects on his experiences adapting a play to a screenplay in a new anthology My Old Lady: Complete Stage Play and Screenplay with an Essay on Adaptation, published by Three Rooms Press. In this episode of The Scene, he shares anecdotes from the production of the film and the unique difficulties and joys of bringing his story to a new medium.