It’s true what they say: Netflix is changing the film industry forever. And now, they even seem to be changing the book industry as well! The streaming platform giant has just acquired the adaptation rights to Gabriel García Márquez’s landmark novel One Hundred Years Of Solitude, more than 50 years after the book’s publication, and they’re going to turn it into a series. To say this is a huge deal is an understatement. García Márquez is the Colombian Nobel Literature Laureate that every Spanish speaker loves. It’s simply one of the best books ever written in Spanish.
But this isn’t huge only because of the novel’s quality. It’s a huge deal because people have been attempting to buy the book’s film rights for more than 50 years. And now, Netflix finally did it.
All we know right now is that García Marquéz’s sons, Rodrigo and Gonzalo García, will work as executive producers on the series. And that the series will be mainly filmed in Colombia. In Spanish! The stakes are high, and the possibility of the greatest series ever is within Netflix’s reach, but so is the level of disappointment.
How do they plan to adapt this groundbreaking novel? Take this into consideration: One Hundred Years of Solitude is a family saga that tells the story of the Buendías, who arrive at a town in the middle of nowhere and experience epidemics, natural disasters, heartbreak, revolutions, industrialization, and a lot of drama over the span of one hundred years (get it?). We’re all eager to see how it will all play out, but for now, here’s some of the things Netflix should avoid:
Read more: Was HIMYM inspired by Love in the Time of Cholera?
Casting non-Colombian actors
Hollywood has a history of putting all brown actors and characters in the same basket. Antonio Banderas, a Spaniard, became famous for playing Mexicans, and Anthony Quinn (Mexican) was hailed for playing Greek and Arab characters. But, hey, even Gwyneth Paltrow’s unbearable English accent won her an Oscar for playing a 16th century Londoner. It might not make a difference to non-Spanish speakers but to truly do justice to the adaptation, I expect an all Colombian/Latin American cast. It makes a huge difference. I don’t care how good Breaking Bad is, but those scenes in Mexico feature actors who can’t speak Spanish to save their lives! And Wagner Moura was great in Narcos… you know, for a series about crooks. But when it comes to this novel, I’m not saying I’m asking for perfection but… yeah, I’m asking for perfection.
Making a telenovela
It’s quite tempting to make a telenovela with Latin American themes and actors. Passion is in our blood, and this book is filled with really strong emotions. And don’t forget about all the family drama. However, we can always tell the difference between drama and melodrama, the latter being something we’re fed up with. We want good acting, good directing, three-dimensional characters, and for the series to avoid all clichés at all costs. Period.
Read: 4 Theories About The Next Breaking Bad Movie That Are Not Completely Insane
Trying to jam the entire novel into a few episodes
One of the frequent problems regarding adaptations is the time constraints natural to feature films. However, Netlifx has the chance to make a Game of Thrones-like adaptation. That is, an adaptation that really takes its time to put all the necessary elements from its source material into the finished product. So, Netlifx, just take your time. Not everything has to be in the series (losing things is part of the process), but just make sure everything is coherent, exciting, and just overall beautiful.
Having non-Latino screenwriters
There’s been a trend in the way Netflix writes series. They hire American scriptwriters and then have a single Spanish speaker translate the entire thing. This is a terrible idea. You can completely tell there’s just something off about the lines in the series. I’m sure there are screenwriters in Colombia more than capable to delivering a great script. Trust us with this one.
García Márquez died quietly in his Mexico City home only five years ago, but ever since he published the novel, he remained reluctant to sell its rights, fearing it was impossible to adapt it, thinking it wouldn’t do justice to adapt it into another language, and in turn, fearing audiences would reject a series in Spanish; therefore, ruling out the possibility of a huge frustration from himself, the fans, and pretty much culture in the world. However, things are clearly changing. First, feature films are being largely overshadowed by the golden age of series. And second, audiences around the world have become more accepting of Spanish-language productions. Think of Narcos, for example, or the Academy-Award winning film, Roma, greatly accepted by audiences around the world.
With that in mind then, maybe it’s true. Perhaps it’s time to take this novel to a whole new level.