Screenwriter: David Benioff

Distrib/release date: DreamWorks-Paramount Vantage/ Dec. 14

Adapted from: Bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini in which an act of betrayal resonates over the decades, from Afghanistan to the U.S. and back again during the Taliban era.

About the Script: Benioff was struck by the way “Khaled had crafted a classic novel on his first try, and in his spare time (he was a full-time doctor). Actually, it was a little annoying. I waste my free hours on fantasy baseball and videogames, and here’s this guy writing a brilliant book before seeing his daily patients. As soon as I finished the book, I started making phone calls and managed to claw my way into the gig.”

Biggest challenge: “Any time you tamper with a beloved novel, you’re taking a chance, but if you don’t tamper with the novel, you’re basically making a book-on-tape with pretty pictures. The challenge here was to take Khaled Hosseini’s story — which has inspired so much affection and loyalty from its readers — and find a way to tell it in two hours without benefit of access to the protagonist’s mind.”

Breakthrough idea: “One critical early decision was to avoid voiceover narration. Some of my favorite movies employ narration — ‘The Apartment,’ ‘GoodFellas,’ ‘Blade Runner,’ ‘Y tu mama tambien’ — but too often in adaptations it’s the easy way out, a chance to include selections of the best prose from the book while glossing over transitions that don’t really work onscreen.”

Choice line: “The dedication of Amir’s novel: ‘For Rahim Khan, who listened to my stories before I knew how to write them.'”

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