Book Hype hosts Karen and Kristen chat with Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper’s Wife, which has an adaptation hitting theaters soon!
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Diane Ackerman joins the podcast! Check out the film, The Zookeeper’s Wife, hitting theaters March 31, 2017!
What Diane’s been reading:
–The Nature Fix by Florence Williams
–Identity Unknown by Donna Seaman
Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust
And some audiobooks:
The Master about Henry James
The making of The Zookeeper’s Wife
-Diane doesn’t really know of any books out there like The Zookeeper’s Wife.
-If you are looking for a book that has already been adapted about women working behind the scenes, maybe check out Hidden Figures.
-Diane Ackerman came to Antonina and Yan’s story through the animals, particularly a rare breed of horses that were running wild in Poland.
-She was working for National Geographic at the time. A friend of hers had an uncle that worked as a vet at the zoo in Poland during the war.
-Diane learned of Antonina and her diary, and it was translated, which jumpstarted the need to share her story.
-Jan was heroic in a more traditional way, but Antonina’s was a more moral or spiritual heroism. She was making sure that they were surviving war with their humanity intact.
-Diane loves the research part, so she loved that part, but writing narrative non-fiction meant that she took great care with getting it right. She visited the zoo in Warsaw to experience the space firsthand.
-The Nazi’s relationship with genetics really surprised her. Hitler didn’t invent the idea of the master race, but got the idea from the American Eugenics movement. He not only wanted pure, Aryan people, but also plants and animals.
Getting in touch with the characters:
-Diane asked herself whether she would have the same courage that Antonina had, especially since she and Jan had children at home.
-Jan and Antonina were normal people.
-Diane volunteered as a Suicide crisis line counselors.
-Antonina wrote children’s books in which she becomes a mother animal.
-Antonina’s empathy was almost supernatural in it’s depth, and Diane found that very easy to rationalize and sense, as learning about how animals sense danger, you learn how to work with them and earn their love.
Book to Film: What makes it work/happen:
-Diane is a read-first, watch later kind of woman. She likes to get into the mind of the story, then see the film and get the visual as well.
–Zookeeper’s Wife has sumptuous poetry to her filmmaking and Diane felt really connected to that.
-It took eight years to bring the movie to the screen, but the news was exciting to get.
-Diane didn’t work on the screenplay itself, but she did read the script and she thought it was wonderful. She knew about the director and the actors, but she was pretty hands off with the actual writing.
-There weren’t any scenes left out that she wished had made the cut, which is high praise from an author.
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