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Australian singer Nick Cave performs in Germany, in June. Cave with his longtime collaborator Warren Ellis, have composed the score to the film The Road, premiering at TIFF.

NIGEL TREBLIN/2009 AFP

From our London correspondent Elizabeth Renzetti, who interviewed Nick Cave this morning and discovered a TIFF connection:

There are vast numbers of us who feel a profound, almost surreal connection to Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road, and were suspicious (to say the least) that any alchemy existed in this world that could see it transformed from page to screen. But those fears were eased when news trickled out about the film's creative team - director John Hillcoat, star Viggo Mortensen, and joyful news for Bad Seeds fans, a score composed by Nick Cave and his long-time collaborator Warren Ellis.

I caught up with Cave in London today, where he is promoting The Death of Bunny Munro, his own apocalyptic road novel about a father and son and the woman who haunts them on their sad-sack journey. (Cave's novel, fortunately, contains a good deal more sex and hilarity than The Road, which isn't saying much -- Middlemarch contains more sex and hilarity than The Road.) Cave hadn't considered his book in light of McCarthy's, but laughed: "I guess they're similar, in a [expletive]up kind of way."

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In 2005, Hillcoat directed the bleak revenge drama The Proposition, based on Cave's script, and wanted the songwriter to take a crack at adapting The Road. Cave chose to write the score instead. The Road "is a hugely difficult story to put onto the screen," he said. "There is no dramatic arc in that book, like most of [McCarthy's]books. It was a brave thing to do to try to make it. But the film's really beautiful."

Early on, he realized that McCarthy's nightmarish vision wasn't a premonition of the future, but firmly anchored in the here-and-now: "I was in America to see some early versions of the film, in San Francisco and places like that. There were huge areas where you'd see people wandering around with their shopping trolleys, identical to the landscape in the film. It was really chilling.''

You can read the full interview with Nick Cave in the Globe next week, just as he arrives in Canada for appearances at bookstores in Toronto and Ottawa.

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About the Author
Columnist and Feature Writer

Elizabeth Renzetti has worked at The Globe and Mail as a columnist, reporter, and editor of the Books and Review sections. From 2003 to 2012, she was a member of the Globe's London-based European bureau. Her Saturday column is published on page A2 of the news section, and her features appear regularly in Focus. More

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