Well, like many Napoleonic fans, I enjoy the Sharpe's books quite a bit.
I was talking with a buddy of mine who also enjoys them about how great it would be if the books would be made into a movie with a SERIOUS budget.
I thought they would be good as a trilogy. They would not strictly follow the books, but instead be sort of hodge-podged, much like "Master and Commander" was. Note that the "movie" titles are not related to the titles of the books; I just chose ones that sounded like they worked.
Movie 1: Sharpe's Rifles
Movie 1 would be a combo of Sharpe's Rifles (the first half) and Sharpe's Eagle, with flashbacks to Sharpe's Triumph.
It would pick up at Sharpe's Rifles, with Dick joining the guys on the winter retreat. The first half of the story/45 minutes would basically follow his becoming the "leader" of the Rifles. It would introduce all of the rifles themselves, and establish Harper and Sharpe as buddies, although they would start as enemies, as in "Rifles." A few flashbacks would explain some of the basics of India, mostly episodes from Sharpe's Triumph, and Sharpe's connection to Wellington, including the scene where he saves Wellesley. Upon further thought, I think it would also introduce Hakeswill as a nemesis for Sharpe, flashbacks only, but without the whole desertion bit.... just an evil dude who got Sharpe flogged (as seen in flashbacks.)
The first half WOULD need some sort of fight/climax, but I am not sure what it would be... I think it may not come from any of the books. I wouldn't want to do the banner, as happened in the book; too esoteric for this sort of thing... I just need to show the Rifles fighting, and winning, and Dick taking his role as the boss.
The second half of the movie would be largely taken from Sharpe's Eagle; the Rifles would be assigned to the South Essex, and we'd have the Simmerson bits. After some thought, I think I may stick Hakeswill in as Simmerson's "right hand man," bringing back some tension from the first half flashbacks. I would go with the whole loss of the colors at the bridge, but would need to cut the overall story down a bit. The movie would end with a nice big set piece, Talavera, where the climax of the movie would be Sharpe and Harper retrieving the Eagle. Not sure how to get rid of Hakeswill, but I think I would need to...
Movie 2: Sharpe's Honour
Movie 2 is a serious mish-mash which would take more thought than I am putting in at the moment. There would be two essential elements, in my opinion.
First, I would introduce both Teresa and Jane.
Second, I would want to have Ducos as the major villain, with the Slaughterman as his "muscle" and as the villain who can actually engage Sharpe in combat. The movie would involve the partisans as well as the French... I think that the story would be the most "original" of the three films, in that it would have to be largely written from scratch...
I think it could open with a big-ass action sequence of Badajoz, really giving us an exciting beginning, as well as a taste of the horror, and again seeing Sharpe as a real badass. I think I would introduce Teresa here, but without the whole Hakeswill story; instead, just intro her in the town as a partisan and potential mate.
I think I would largely then go on to a rough story of Sharpe being disgraced and having to clear his name while also fighting off both the partisans under the Slaughterman and the French, with Ducos setting up all sorts of trouble. I think Teresa would have to die around the late middle of the film. Ducos would die as well (maybe he would be present at the fight between the Slaughterman and Sharpe at the end of Vitoria?) but I would introduce Jane as well, probably taking the place of the captured Helena, and have the film end with Jane and Dick getting married in a somewhat sad sort of way. I wonder, though, if it would be good to have both women in the story at once... while Sharpe wouldn't marry Teresa, it would set up a nice dichotomy... which woman should he choose? Obviously Teresa's death would help with that choice.
I don't know which battle I would end with... I would like a nice big battle, but I don't know if Vitoria is the way to go? It would set Sharpe up as rich, and would introduce the idea that he has money... money which Jane will steal at the start of the third movie. Plus, it would have a good "duel" scene at the end between him and the Slaughterman.
Movie 3: Sharpe's Waterloo
Would be largely Sharpe's Waterloo, but it would start slightly differently, with elements of Sharpe's Revenge.
The start would have to intro the idea of Jane running off with Lord John while Sharpe is off at war. I would introduce (somehow) Dick getting all shot up on some sort of super-secret mission (maybe even before the opening credits, like a Bond scene) and staying at Lucille's chateau. I would have to cut out the majority of that story, and instead maybe just have Dick at the chateau recovering for some minor thing that would be resolved early on. I would try to tackle this in the first 20-30 minutes. Then there would be a jump in time, as Napoleon would be defeated (this would probably be just told on a black screen with writing) but then we would jump to "Waterloo" which would be the bulk of the movie.
So those are my first few thoughts... the second movie needs the most work, of course, as well as figuring out how to really get the first 20 minutes of the third movie tight and ending in a satisfying way (likely with a good sized fight.) I wonder if Teresa should be introduced as already being Sharpe's wife at the VERY start of the 2nd movie, and killing her midway through, and then bringing in Jane for the whole second half of the movie?
There would be some losses. Sweet William would likely not make it in, unless I introduced him as a good guy in the second movie, and then maybe even had him at the start of the third and just did a quick nod to the love triangle there, phasing William out of the 3rd movie when "Waterloo" begins. Hogan could be, but as a secondary character across the movies, and likely allowed to survive the whole time:)
So! Just some random thoughts on my own film Sharpe Trilogy!