Once and Future
Something odd and wondrous is happening. Something "wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey," as a certain Doctor might put it. Recently, I shared with Hawk the Disney version of The Sword in the Stone. Naturally, he loved it, as it involves Knights and Wizards and Beasts. And only a couple of days ago, in his school library, Hawk spotted a golden-covered copy of T.H. White's The Once and Future King, pointing out that it matched the one on my shelf. Next to it were no less than five copies of The Sword in the Stone, which, I explained to Hawk, was the first part of the larger book. "Can we check it out?" he asked. I told him we could, but first we'd have to work through all the other library books we had at home!
I was in eighth grade when my friend Travis showed up with his golden-covered copy of The Once and Future King. I had already consumed The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Prydain and the Dune Chronicles, and feared there was little left in the world worth reading. But here was something with promise.
Once I got into screenwriting, I thought The Once and Future King would make a great epic film or mini-series (no offense to the Camelot musical and film), and it ranked high on my list of dream adaptations to write someday. And now it's back in a new version. As fortune would have it, my friend Brian Sibley has written a six-part dramatization for BBC Radio 4 that airs beginning this Sunday, November 9.
Not so very long ago, in Wellington, my friend Jack (Lord of the Rings tour guide extraordinaire) called me up. His voice was urgent (not that unusual), but also excited (again, typical): our mutual friend, the writer and broadcaster Brian Sibley, was in town. He was staying in the Museum Hotel, and we were to join him for dinner at the hotel's Hippopotamus Restaurant & Bar. I didn't yet own a car, so I quickly cabbed over to the Te Aro district and bounded into the restaurant.
|At Hippopotamus Bar & Grill (l-r): Jack, Brian, Ryan.|
Brian was in Wellington conducting research and interviews for his (compulsively readable) three-part Official Movie Guide of The Hobbit Trilogy. As locals, Jack and I were keen to supply our intelligence and, of course, glean whatever production secrets Brian might be able to share with two crazy Tolkien fans.
We had a splendid time. Brian proved a true gentleman, sweet and generous, and a gifted conversationalist. Indeed, Jack and I soaked up many tales from Brian's work in radio and film (go check out his entertaining blog). He's one of those warm people who can put you ease with seemingly no effort at all; it's no wonder he's corresponded with and met a great many of his personal heroes. As we parted, we took some photos together.
I'm not sure what all this synchronicity means, Brian's adaptation and Hawk's excitement and the final Hobbit film and connections made in wonderful Wellington. But as I was preparing this blog, I checked the date on the photos. Exactly three years ago today.