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Life, the interview and everything: A chat with Douglas Adams

Our man Rockman met his hero in 1998

End of the liner

With only hours left at the end of the two-year project, it seemed a bit churlish to ask what was happening next. But that's the kind of thing interviewers do. The next big project is the Hitchhiker movie. This is at least the third attempt to make a film of the story. Adams says that like all the other iterations, it will be based on what has gone before the radio series and books.

"You'd be right to conclude that the TV series wasn't my favourite," he says. There will also be some new material. He believes that this time it will happen: "We have a studio and a director." He acknowledges that the success of the film Men in Black may well have helped, but wonders if the humour in that owes any¬thing to Hitchhiker.

After the film, there might be a game of the movie – a console action game, nothing like Titanic. And, of course, there's a Mac version of Starship Titanic. Adams is quite emotional on the subject: "If we did the Mac first, there wouldn't be a game. While I will do everything I can to support and evangelise the Mac, that doesn't include bankrupting the company."

Funding for the Mac project will have to come from the success of the Windows version. Adams speculates that as most new Macs are now shipping with DVD drives, Starship Titanic for the Mac might only come out on DVD. Meanwhile, Mac users will have to content themselves with the book of the game, written by Terry Jones. However; even if you're a Windows user you should visit the bookshop: it won't help you with the game, but if Adams' hope of a film of the game gets realised, you'll be able to sit in the cinema and moan that it's not as good as the original.

You've plenty of time to read it, though. Even if it's a high-speed process compared to its predecessor, which has taken over 20 years from original broadcast to celluloid. So it wasn't only Arthur Dent who began a trip into the unknown when the world was destroyed. ®


The film which Adams thought was about to be made went through hiatus after hiatus before finally appearing in 2005, seven years after this interview and four years after Adams died of a heart attack.

One story insight that Adams – who was notorious for missing deadlines – gave during the interview, which has never made it into print before, came when I commented that Hitchhikers was famously written on a typewriter using thin carbon paper, with scripts being finished during recording. Adams was also a pioneer of home computing, and as he says here, a fan of the Macintosh. I asked if there was any difference between writing on a typewriter and a computer, and he said that when using a typewriter you could only stare out of the window, while with a computer you had a whole world of distractions.

Radio 4 will be airing a tribute to Douglas Adams on Saturday with “Did Douglas Get it Right?” looking back at his predictions from 2000.

We would like to thank former Demon marketing guru James Gardiner for digging out his old copy of Demon Dispatches.

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