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When Patrick met Zoë

Playwright Patrick Marber wrote the screenplay of Zoe Heller's book Notes on a Scandal. Both writers talked to me about the painful process of turning a novel into a film

By John Nathan   August 2009

Patrick Marber first met Zoë Heller in New York in 2003. Marber—a British playwright, comedian, actor and director—was there to work on the film version of his 1997 play, Closer. Heller was then the author of two novels. It was the second of these, the widely acclaimed Notes on a Scandal, that was the reason for their meeting. It is a dark, intricate tale of an embittered older teacher, Barbara Covett, who manipulates a younger teacher at her school, Sheba Hart, using her knowledge of Sheba’s illicit relationship with a pupil. Marber wanted to adapt it into a film. Heller…

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