Movies/TV

Is literature better at coming up with complex women protagonists than Hollywood?

19 September 2016

From The Atlantic:

Last year, I was working as a publicity associate at Simon & Schuster when Jessica Knoll’s debut thriller Luckiest Girl Alive was optioned for film. The novel, which would go on to sell over 450,000 copies, was still months from publication, but the option was a solid indicator that it would be the commercial success everyone at the publishing house was hoping for. While movie deals always bring some financial security to authors and perpetually-in-the-red book publishers, this one had the added benefit of being with Reese Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard, a production company with a record of turning would-be bestsellers into high-grossing, Oscar-nominated films—as it did with Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wildand Gillian Flynn’s thriller Gone Girl. A Pacific Standard deal is the kind of thing that could extend the buying life and cultural relevance of a new book tenfold.

It’s no coincidence that most of Pacific Standard’s current projects are book adaptations. As Witherspoon told the Wall Street Journal in April, she founded the company in part so that she could bring her favorite novels and memoirs to life. These books, she said, featured complex women in ways the scripts that landed on her desk did not. Witherspoon’s comments, and her decision to turn to books as material for the majority of the films she produces, illuminate an interesting parallel between two industries for which “strong female lead” has become a heated topic of discussion. In the world of commercial publishing, books written by and about women receive few prestigious literary awards, and reviewers are mostly men. Meanwhile, the film industry has been widely criticized for its lack of substantial roles for women, both onscreen and behind the camera, as well as a huge gender wage gap.

But the publishing industry is 78 percent female and, accolades or no, recent books from commercial publishers have offered up a bevy of leading women who are complex, unconventional, wholly human, and even triumphantly “unlikeable,” as Koa Beck wrote for The Atlantic last year. Many of them are  getting a second life in film, and not just at the hands of Witherspoon. Rachel from Paula Hawkins’ thriller Girl On The Train, Ifemelu from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, and the two sisters from Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale will all soon grace the silver screen.

Link to the rest at The Atlantic and thanks to Will for the tip.

Diana Gabaldon on Writing

2 July 2016

Bestselling author of the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon reveals her personal writing habits and how she came to be a novelist.

‘After’ Movie: Paramount Acquires Rights To Wattpad Book By Anna Todd

16 October 2015
Comments Off on ‘After’ Movie: Paramount Acquires Rights To Wattpad Book By Anna Todd

From Deadline Hollywood:

Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to After, a novel by first-time author Anna Todd that has been the breakout hit of Wattpad, the online community of readers and writers where books are published a chapter at a time. Todd’s novel originated as a serialized three-part series that Toronto-based Wattpad says has accumulated more than 1 billion reads.

. . . .

Todd’s novel is separately booked to be published through the Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Books, with the first installment going on sale October 21. Will it become a publishing phenomenon like Twilight or Fifty Shades Of Grey, the latter of which E.L. James first began writing asTwilight fan fiction? It is already a phenomenon in its own right and certainly more brand name recognition than a first-time author whose book is about to be published has any right to expect. That is thanks to Wattpad, which boasts 35 million users who dial in to read fiction, usually on mobile devices. Anyone can publish, and the stories are free and available in 50 languages. The latest development allows the author to actually get paid for all this patronage, something made possible in that those who contribute to the 7-year old site retain copyright ownership.

Link to the rest at Deadline Hollywood and thanks to Judith for the tip.

Here’s a link to Anna Todd’s books.

The Martian Proves Movies Are Now Better Than Their Books

5 October 2015

From Wired:

A CONFESSION: I didn’t love Andy Weir’s The Martian. Despite all the people telling me at coffee shops/airports/etc. that it was their favorite book, I struggled to get through the prose. (I know, I know…) The story of astronaut Mark Watney and his fully science-enabled quest to stay alive while stranded on Mars was fascinating, but the book’s use of repetitive plot devices and phrasings . . . made it a slog. In short, it was fine—I just thought it needed a good edit.

Ridley Scott’s The Martian is that edit. Freed of Watney’s long monologues and Weir’s deep explanations of botany and chemistry, the movie is far more agile than the book. It’s no less compelling and a whole lot more fun. (At one point, I actually spent an evening doing my taxes just to avoid delving into another chapter of The Martian.) Simply put, the movie is better than the book.

All together now: heresy!

. . . .

The age of fast-and-loose optioning , coupled with the rise of self-publishing—which is how Weir’s novel was noticed—means it’s not only much easier for amateur writers to surface, but for their books to hit the big screen. (See also: Fifty Shades of Grey, theDivergent series.) The thing is, while there are many people with good stories to tell, sometimes their storytelling needs work. But with directors like Scott, who has adapted everything from Philip K. Dick to the Book of Exodus, and screenwriters like Drew Goddard, who adapted The Martian, we’re arguably in the midst of the golden age of book adaptations.

Link to the rest at Wired

Ransom Rigg’s Book Trailer

17 September 2015

Created in 2011 for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  Movie to be released in 2016.

 

‘Insurgent’ And Why Young Adult Novels Make Box Office Hits

28 March 2015

From Forbes:

The second installment of Veronica Roth’s dystopian trilogy, The Divergent Series: Insurgent, grabbed $52.3 million in its opening weekend at the U.S. boxoffice, just shy of Divergent’s $54.6 million debut last year. Clocking $47 million worldwide, Insurgent brings the teen action franchise’s total earnings to a plump $388 million so far, with two movies still to come.

Roth, who earned an estimated $17 million last year selling some 7 million books, is but one of many ink spillers whose literary successes have translated into box office hits. Nearly a quarter of the 200 top-grossing films worldwide tallied by Box Office Mojo have been directly adapted from books, excluding children’s tales, comic book or picture book translations.  Of those 48 titles, 16 started as Young Adult novels and earned a collective $13.4 billion at the box office.

Young Adult (YA) fiction – a genre usually designed for readers 12 and up – has become a global powerhouse that reaps dollars from page turners and popcorn crunchers alike.

“These books already have great source material and a die-hard fan base,” said Jodi Reamer, a senior book agent at Writers House who worked with Twilight‘s Stephenie Meyer and The Fault in Our Stars‘ John Green. She says a novel’s built-in audience means YA adaptations are a shoo-in for studios – and profit makers for publishers.

“At most, a publisher is going to spend a million [dollars] on marketing and promotion, but a studio at the very least will spend a million, so there will be a huge audience discovering the books and driving sales,” Reamer explained.

She would know: Twilight‘s vampire love saga notched a total of $3.34 billion at the global box office from its five installments, propelling Meyer to shift over 116 million copies of the series.

Link to the rest at Forbes

“Tara! Home. I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!”

11 October 2014

The line above is the last line from the movie, Gone with the Wind, based upon the literary classic, Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell.

But look! Look what’s happened to Scarlett’s beloved Tara~

With only a few volunteers and money out of his own pocket, Lovejoy resident Peter Bonner is carefully restoring the facade of Gone With the Wind‘s famous plantation using pieces from the original set. Wood, windows and fixtures from the classic 1939 film sat on the back lot of Selznick Studios until 1959 when the set was dismantled and returned to Atlanta under a banner saying, “Tara has come home.” The intention was to turn it into a tourist attraction, but that never happened. Later, in 1979, the pieces were purchased by Betty Talmadge, the ex-wife of Georgia Senator Herman Talmadge. Betty cared for the facade and attempted to work with municipalities to put it into a museum. She paid for the front door to be restored and it is currently on display at the Margaret Mitchell House. Unfortunately, Talmadge passed away in 2005 before anything could be done with the facade, and poor Tara remained in storage.

Now that’s dedication. Read the rest and view the photos here.

Julia

Trigger Warning- Tom and Jerry and Amazon

10 October 2014

You can read about this on any number of sites, but here’s USA Today:

Viewers may now be thinking twice before they click “play” on the classic Warner Bros. cartoon, Tom and Jerry.

Amazon Prime Instant and iTunes have posted a disclaimer that warns users that the cat-and-mouse shorts, which ran from 1940 to 1957, “may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society.”

The warning continues: “Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.”

I have a confession to make. This is so before my time that when I first read the headline (in a different publication) I thought it was because it was a cat and a mouse… living together in sin…

Read the rest here.

Julia

James Strauss and his Fake Writing Credits

30 April 2014

From Lee Goldberg, Author & TV Producer:

A year ago, I published a blog post here titled “Easily Fooled” about being on a TV writing panel at a mystery conference with a guy whose writing credits were all fake.  I omitted his name to save him embarrassment. I was being too kind, because the guy is still hoodwinking conferences and the paying attendees with the same scam. So here’s the post again… with his name included this time.

James Strauss

James gets gigs teaching screenwriting courses based on his experience writing episodes on the TV shows HOUSE, DEADWOOD, SAVING GRACE and ENTOURAGE. The problem is, according to the Writers Guild of America and writer/producers on those shows, James Strauss never worked as a writer on any of those series.

. . . .

The First Clue: Strauss Didn’t Know What He Was Talking About

Recently, I was a guest at a Love is Murder Conference in Chicago and one of my fellow speakers/panelists was James Strauss, who claimed to have written for scores of acclaimed network TV shows, like House, Deadwood, and Entourage, and a big upcoming movie, The Equalizer. Based on his experience, he’d been invited to speak at writer’s conferences, seminars, and libraries from coast to coast, including some nice paid gigs in Hawaii and Mexico. I’d never heard of him…and the instant I met him, I knew something was off.

For one thing, I knew one of the writers of the big, upcoming movie he claimed to have worked on…and I knew writer/producers on most of the shows he said he wrote for…and when I mentioned their names to James, he was evasive or said he came on the various projects before or after my friends were there. I might have bought that, screenwriting is a pretty nomadic business, but everything he said on his panels and in his talks about writing scripts and working on episodic series wasn’t just wrong, it was inane. Even in our personal conversations, he said some pretty stupid stuff about the business.

The Second Clue: Strauss Had No Credits. Anywhere. For Anything.

. . . .

What I don’t get is how so many conferences, libraries, and seminars could have invited this guy to speak, and paid his way to tropical locales, without doing even the most basic check of his credentials. In this day and age, if a guy says he wrote for some of the most acclaimed shows on TV, you should be able to easily confirm it with a simple Google search. And if you can’t, that should be a big, fat, red freaking flag.

Link to the rest at Lee Goldberg and thanks to Barbra for the tip.