Off Topic podcast: Roger Casement biopic, Assassin’s Creed and the future of libraries

We discuss Simon Fujiwara’s Imma installation The Humanizer, here about perhaps the biggest game-to-film adaptation to date, and discuss why it’s a golden age for libraries

On this week's show, we discuss the new Assassin's Creed film with one of its writer Michael Lesslie. Together with artist Simon Fujiwara, Lesslie has also created an almost-Hollywood biopic on the life of Roger Casement.

After cutting his teeth in theatre, Lesslie made the jump into film and, working from some admittedly decent source material, adapted Macbeth for the 2015 film starring Michael Fassbender. His next big-screen project is Assassin's Creed, also starring Fassbender, and due for release this year.

He's currently in Dublin with an intriguing project involving real-life superhero Roger Casement. Artist Simon Fujiwara has created an installation in the Irish Museum of Modern Art called The Humanizer, that imagines a big-screen Hollywood take on Casement's life, that's more than a little liberal with the facts. Viewers see artefacts from the "film" (largely created by designer Annie Atkins), and hear an emotive soundtrack and lines of script, as written by Lesslie, in a brilliant piece of work that might just be one of the funniest pieces of 1916 art you'll see this year.

Lesslie also talks us through the challenges in adapting one of biggest video games in the world, how to balance fans’ expectations with studio demands, and his other work-in-progress, about the Axeman of New Orleans.


In the second half of the show, Hugh Linehan looks at how libraries are currently undergoing a period of radical transformation. In the modern digital age, they are transforming themselves to reflect the profound changes in the way we access, share and make use of information. Far from disappearing, as some predicted only a few years ago, the library is set to flower. The changing concept of the modern library was discussed by some of the world’s leading thinkers in the field this week in Dublin.

To discuss the library in the age of Google, Linehan is joined by Helen Shenton, librarian and college archivist at Trinity College Dublin, and by Richard Ovenden, the senior executive at Oxford University's Bodleian Library. It is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and has just reopened its re-imagined New Library to international acclaim.