Talking Pictures #22: Nicholas Meyer, Writer of THE SEVEN PER-CENT SOLUTION
Today’s guest is the amazing writer and director Nicholas Meyer. While Meyer is probably best known as the writer and director of the beloved sci-fi sequels STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN and STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY and also as the director of the sci-fi adventure TIME AFTER TIME and the devastating nuclear disaster TV movie THE DAY AFTER, our conversation revolves around his Sherlock Holmes stories. In 1974, Meyer published the bestselling novel THE SEVEN PER-CENT SOLUTION, presented as a rediscovered manuscript in which Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective meets Sigmund Freud in Vienna who cures him of his cocaine addiction. Meyer received an Academy Award nomination for adapting his book into a screenplay for the movie version directed by Herbert Ross, which was released in 1976 and starred Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin, Vanessa Redgrave and Sir Laurence Olivier.
Meyer wrote four more Holmes novels in the following years, starting with THE WEST-END HORROR, in which Holmes and Watson solve a case in London’s theatre district and meet famous artists like George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker. In the third Holmes novel, THE CANARY TRAINER, Holmes works undercover as a violinist at the Paris Opera and crosses paths with Gaston Leroux’s famous Phantom of the Opera. More recently, Meyer wrote THE ADVENTURE OF THE PECULIAR PROTOCOLS, in which Holmes is on the trail of the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a vicious forgery which is supposed to document a Jewish plan for world domination. The fifth Holmes novel, THE RETURN OF THE PHARAOH, is set in Egypt and has an older Holmes working with archeologist Howard Carter on solving a mystery revolving around a previously undiscovered pharaoh’s tomb.
In our conversation, Nicholas Meyer discusses how he developed the ideas of his Holmes novels and how he found the connection between Arthur Conan Doyle and Sigmund Freud. He talks about the process of adapting the book for the film version of THE SEVEN PER-CENT SOLUTION and about his discussions with director Herbert Ross revolving around several changes. We also discuss the other Holmes novels and take a brief detour into Meyer’s STAR TREK movies. Meyer also explains why the job of a psychoanalyst is similar to that of a movie editor, and he shares a story that revolves around his take on the concept of originality.
The interview was conducted in connection with our German companion podcast Lichtspielplatz, so if you speak German, make sure to check out episode #57 which features an in-depth discussion of the film THE SEVEN PER-CENT SOLUTION and all five of Meyer’s Holmes novels.
So without any further ado, here’s the brillant Holmes to my ordinary Watson – Nicholas Meyer!
The mp3 file can be downloaded HERE.
Photo of Nicholas Meyer: Leslie Fram
Photo of Meyer books: Christian Genzel
Thanks to Dr. Wily, my Lichtspielplatz podcasting partner for audio editing. The music was created by Clark Kent.