As Harold Pinter's adaptation (1990) of Ian McEwan's The Comfort of Strangers (1981) reveals, extras are the strangers of the big screen. Pinter's revision of the source text introduces the antagonist, Robert, as an extra before formally presenting him as a character in the plot. As a filmic device, the extra interprets Robert's role as the foreign stranger who inflicts unexpected violence and alters the temporality of the tale's narrative trajectory. His early anonymity is the screenplay's cinematographic rendering of the violent encroachment of random, extraneous bodies and the temporal disruption that ensues from the onslaught of the periphery. Accordingly, the history and functionality of the screenplay itself correspond to that of the extra; Pinter's adaptation invites a double-take of the simultaneously seen and unseen texts in the wings and margins of film.

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