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The Idiot: Coming Soon To A Theater Near You

Sandi Tan, the filmmaker behind last year’s documentary Shirkers (and the subject of a profile by Anna Silman today on the Cut), is at work on a film adaptation of Elif Batuman’s hit novel The Idiot. So on this week’s podcast, we got Sandi and Elif together in the studio to talk about the book, their work, and their plans. But first we heard the story of how they met.

Sandi remembers reading the novel The Idiot and loving it. She wanted to adapt it — even though she knew it would be a challenge. The overture she made to Elif was very true to the spirit of The Idiot, a book full of long, intense emails: She sent her a long, intense email.

The sundial’s a deep cut from The Idiot — it’s the kind of detail you drop if you want to prove how closely you’re paying attention. So Sandi sent off a three-page, single-spaced email to Elif Batuman.

It worked. When Elif watched Shirkers, she saw a teenager who was just as serious and ambitious as she’d been — and someone who was now just as serious about reexamining her own past.

To hear Elif and Sandi talk about writing, movies, #MeToo, and what they were like as teenagers, click above, and subscribe wherever you listen.

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