Pakula, who directed both "Sophie" and "Presumed," is also of the older generation; he dates back to live television and has specialized in literary adaptations. These guys are dying out, sad to say. John Huston, the great champion of literary adaptation (from "The Maltese Falcon," his first film, to "The Dead," his last, with stops for "Moby Dick," "The Red Badge of Courage," "Under the Volcano" and "The Bible" in between), is dead; Fred Zinnemann ("A Nun's Story," among others) is too old to work. John Frankenheimer ("The Manchurian Candidate") no longer gets A projects.
The new generation seems not to have been schooled in literature. Thrillers remain a hotly contested Hollywood staple, particularly if they offer a new wrinkle, a new kind of hero, or if they've been written -- as so many of them are -- with an eye on a movie sale to begin with.