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Interview: Writer Lesley Paterson on the Challenges of Adapting ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’

All Quiet on the Western Front is an intense film, and necessarily so. Of course, in even being brought to the screen, this adaptation of the novel had to compete with the award winning movie that came before it. A lot of credit goes to screenwriters Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell, who managed to, along with director and co-writer Edward Berger, made it very much their own. With Oscar voting currently going on and the Academy Awards this weekend, I spoke to Paterson a few days ago about this very impressive bit of writing. Today, that conversation about All Quiet on the Western Front comes your way.

Below, you can see my chat with Paterson. We talk about how you tackle an adaptation like this. Considering the pedigree of the source material and the prior movie, there’s such risk inherent to it, but Paterson and company managed to avoid the pitfalls. She’s able to break it down very well, leading to an engaging and interesting discussion. If you somehow haven’t seen All Quiet on the Western Front yet, be sure to do so before the Oscars on Sunday, as it’s in line to win several.

In my review of All Quiet on the Western Front (found here), I had this to say about the film:

Filmmaker Edward Berger really nails the aesthetic of All Quiet on the Western Front. From the pounding score from Volker Bertelmann to the gritty cinematography by James Friend, the technicals are all terrific. Berger’s adaptation, which he co-wrote with Lesley Paterson and Ian Stokell, honors the novel by Erich Maria Remarque.


Here now is my interview with All Quiet on the Western Front co-writer Lesley Paterson. Enjoy:

All Quiet on the Western Front is currently streaming on Netflix!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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