18 December 2011 4:05 PM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

How do you adapt classic film The Ladykillers for the stage? First, blow the whole thing up

The story of The Ladykillers came to screenwriter William Rose in a dream. Four criminals planning a robbery hole up in an old lady's house, deciding to kill her when she discovers their secret. Unable to do the deed, however, some of them end up killing each other, and all of them end up dead. Rose woke his wife, Tania, gabbled the story to her – and immediately fell asleep again. She, thankfully for him and all of us, flew from their bed and typed the whole thing out before it had a chance to go cold. The next morning, she told the story to her husband, and he listened amazed, as if hearing it for the first time.

Fittingly, the classic 1955 film has a dreamlike, flowing quality, but with a robust logic that »

- Graham Linehan

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