A double adaptation for The Schopenhauer Cure
by Martin Kudláč
- The popular psychological novel by Irvin D Yalom is getting the double treatment
Irvin D Yalom’s psychological novel The Schopenhauer Cure, which is about group therapy, is to be turned into not one, but two, films. After a routine check-up, a psychotherapist is faced with his own mortality. He seeks out an ex-patient whom he failed to help yet who claims to have been cured by the teachings of the famously pessimistic philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. The psychotherapist invites his ex-patient to his group therapy, in which the members are coming to terms with death and looking for the meaning of life. “Scriptwriter Jiří Kout came up with the idea of the adaptation. I liked it and contacted Irvin D Yalom personally to start negotiating the rights for the adaptation,” Tomáš Krejčí, one of the directors, explains.
“Yalom’s book and Kout’s screenplay cover a wide range of themes that we all encounter in our daily lives, and they also offer a manual on how to handle them to make our lives better,” says the director on why he chose to participate in the project, adding: “Yalom’s therapy was a key factor in my own recovery.” Krejčí admits that films telling stories from real life, even though they may touch upon serious topics, can leave viewers feeling positive, much like Robert Redford’s Ordinary People or James L Brooks’ Terms of Endearment. “Our goal is to make such a film,” asserts the director.
Separate versions of the adaptation are being prepared. Jiří Kout and his production company Coatman are developing the Czech version and are currently looking for a director who would fit the bill. Krejčí is lined up as the director for the English version, set to be shot in the UK or the USA. Kout is also serving as screenwriter on both films; however, the script will be different for each version. “Several producers from the UK, the USA, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have shown an interest in being involved with the project, and we should have sealed co-production contracts within two months,” the director comments. Well-known Czech actors Lukáš Vaculík, Klára Issová and Jan Budař have already confirmed their interest in the Czech version of the project, while the English version is currently at the stage of contacting the desired actors and awaiting their responses.