Scarlett Johansson

Director Regretted Calling an Author’s Work “Great but trashy” After Later Adapting His Novel Into Sci-Fi Erotic Thriller Starring Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson is among the top actors in the Hollywood industry. The Marvel star has been part of numerous cinematic classics like Jojo Rabbit, Black Widow, Lucy, Lost in Translation, and more. There was one film, which was initially met with boos, however, it turned out to be a cinematic splendor. It is director Jonathan Glazer’s film, Under the Skin. The director had to eat his words about the novel when he made its movie adaptation.

Scarlett Johansson
Marvel star, Scarlett Johansson

Glazer’s film is loosely based on the 2000 novel of the same name by Michel Faber. The director had criticized the novel in the past, however, he was intrigued by the story and made a film on it, featuring Scarlett Johansson.

Jonathan Glazer called Michel Faber’s novel ‘trashy’

In a conversation with IndieWire in 2001, long before the film Under the Skin was released, the director dismissed the book as trashy. He had shared about the novel,

“A great book, but a trashy book.”

However, he also added,

“There’s an incredible gem at the heart of [the novel].”

ScarJo in a still from Under The Skin
ScarJo in a still from Under The Skin

Some years later, he shared in an interview with The Guardian that he regrets calling the book trashy as he had not met the author at that time. He

“I did say that. Well, one day I hope to meet Michel, and I hope he sees the film, and I’d be very interested in talking to him about what he wrote and what I made. I think there’s a rhyme there.”

The film stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien who takes the disguise of a beautiful woman. She drives a van around in Scotland and preys on single men.

Michel Faber was impressed by Scarlett Johansson’s film

Jonathan Glazer had shared in an interview with The Dissolve, about his meeting with Faber, and revealed that the author was relieved that the movie was its own thing and not a complete copy of the novel. He shared,

“Faber was relieved at the fact that [the movie] was its own thing entirely, and it was a spiritual bedfellow or soulmate.”

Jonathan Glazer and Michel Faber did not meet to discuss their different interpretations of the story before the film was made. Faber has shared his opinion on the film, in an interview with film critic Gabriel Diego Valdez. The author revealed that he appreciated that the film took viewers outside of their comfort zones and liked its different approach from his book. 

Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin
Scarlett Johansson in Under the Skin

Faber and Glazer felt that the idea of a faithful adaptation of the film would not be a good idea. The author shared that his main concern with film versions of his books was,

“They should be strong works of art in themselves. A mediocre or weak adaptation that tried to be faithful would have upset me; a strong adaptation that took wild liberties made me very happy.”

Under The Skin grossed US$7 million against a budget of $13.3 million. It is available for screening on Max.

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