The River Why (on earth are you making this film?)

Via the Moldy Chum blog, I came across an article about the upcoming River Why film this morning. It draws attention to one or two interesting things of which I was not previously aware. Most importantly, David James Duncan, the author of the original (and wonderful) book, has done as much as he can to halt the film’s production.


Amber Heard, star of the upcoming River Why film. Hmm..excellent casting I’d say.

According to the article, he has been to court, claiming copyright infringement and various other bits and bobs, which has resulted in the current production of the film being unable to use his name in promoting the film. I say ‘current production’ because the article goes on to say that once the upcoming film has been released, Duncan will once again own the rights to his own book, and is planning to make his own screen version. Hmm…. all a bit dodgy I reckon.

In an earlier post I mentioned that Duncan had been contributing to the screenplay. A commenter on that post pointed out that the film would be quite different to the book (er, not a huge surprise..). I now learn that Duncan has been fighting the film.. Personally, I’m a bit confused. But looking at the Official Website for the new film, I see no mention of Duncan at all.

I don’t like being overly negative towards people who are trying to produce a film, or make music, or do anything creative. But I do begin to struggle a little bit when it appears that a film is being made, not just with a shrug of the shoulders from the author, but with a pitched court battle between him and the producers. I wouldn’t give a damn, of course, if it wasn’t for the fact that it was David James Duncan who created the story, the characters, the beautiful mood of the book. It’s his novel, and although I’m fully aware that copyright law is more complicated than my simplistic standpoint, I simply don’t feel comfortable about a film that doesn’t have the author’s backing. Amber Heard, however, I feel quite comfortable about.


  1. Mike’s avatar

    After having a good read of your website i went out an bought The River Why. It was a cracking read.
    Funny thing about films is that they rarely live up to your expectations when they are based on brilliant books.
    An hour or two of ogling Amber Heard should be more than adequate compensation for the probable literary let down which lies ahead!

    1. mike’s avatar

      Hi Mike,

      Delighted you enjoyed the book, it really is a good story.

      Great name by the way.


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