File this under the worst movie news I've heard all week: Walden Media (the folks who brought you the skin deep The Chronicles of Narnia) will be adapting one of my favorite books of all time C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. It's about a devil instructing his apprentice in how to corrupt a human soul. To my way of thinking there are just some books that should never, not in a million years, be visualized. This is one of them.
Letters is an epistolary novel and those are immediately troublesome as far as adaptations go (there are exceptions of course. There always are). In a film version they will have to actually dramatize events you're only hearing about in the letters of the novel. These events are told through a skewed perspective, the demon's. Part of the joy and the strength of the novel is reading the words and reinterpreting them. A movie will also have to visualize hell, senior and junior demons and the like and immediately rob the powers of suggestion of the book --it's not big on visual descriptions, being a very conceptual thing. This kind of thing can only end one way: corruption and over simplification of the brilliant source material. I'm horrified that the Lewis estate would even consider selling the rights to this.