Director defends historically accurate adaptation of Huck Finn

It is a classic children's book which has been adapted into 16 much loved films.

But the newest big screen retelling of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is set to cause major controversy after it was revealed it will use the n-word.

The highly offensive word was repeatedly used in the Mark Twain tome, which was published in 1884.

The screenwriter Jonathan Feldman defended the use of the obscene word, but told The Times: 'Of course it is controversial and I'm expecting rows.'

Huckleberry Finn tells the tale of Huck, who lives near the Mississippi River.

The web of characters also include his alcoholic father, who gets Huck to extort money to fuel his addiction, his best friend Tom Sawyer, Miss Watson, who lives with Huck's adopted family and her slave Jim, who Huck forms a close bond with.

The book has been criticised for its frequent use of the offensive word and for perceived racial slurs, and the portrayal of Jim.

It has been banned in some American schools and libraries for its language.

Donald Rosenfeld, a former president of Merchant Ivory Productions who has worked on Howards End and The Remains of the Day, said the word needed to be included as the previous films aimed at children had been unable to 'properly honour' the book.

He told the paper: 'But in our version (aimed at adults) you need the word which Twain himself used in the context of the times.'

Previous film adaptations have seen Elijah Wood and Mickey Rooney play the cheeky drifter.

But writer Bonnie Greer disagreed with the use of the term, saying it shifted the focus of the film: 'Using the n-word now assumes we don't know this word was used to refer to Jim. So it's not only redundant but causes the film to put a weight on the story that Twain didn't intend.'

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