Monday, July 26, 2010

Book to movie?

By Lonnie Cruse/Filling in today for Julia who is unable to post at this time.

I was recently contacted with an inquiry about the film rights to my newly-released book, FIFTY-SEVEN TRAVELING. I've directed the person to my rep at my publisher. Am I excited about this? Yes . . . and . . . no. It's really too early to get excited or even think this might actually happen. I'm in "wait and see" mode.

Authors are often contacted about rights to their books. And books are sometimes optioned for movies. IF that happens, the author gets a certain amount of money, even if the movie is NEVER made. That's good! If the movie is made, it can be true to the book, or more often, not true to the book. That can be bad. I guess.

How many times have we heard someone say the book was better than the movie, OR the movie was better than the book? I know I've most often heard: Read the book first, then see the movie. In many cases, the author doesn't have much of a say in the making of the movie. In how close it comes to the book. It's our baby, but we've given it over to someone else to "raise." Turning over control of our work can be difficult. Think iron grip with heels dug in and teeth gritted. Not a pretty picture.

Then there is the reverse, the movie is made and then an author is contracted to write the book. I've not read any of those books so I can't comment on whether the book actually follows the movie faithfully. I guess that new scenario happened because people who loved the movie wanted to re-visit it by reading the book. Whatever.

Not only are movies made based on books but sometimes new versions of the old movies are made again. Now we have a triple threat, the book, the original movie, the remake movie. Where will it all end?

Is there a point here? Um, no. Just rambling thoughts while I mull the possibility of Kitty Bloodworth (my character) on the big screen. Hmmmm. Thanks for stopping by. Seen any good movies lately?


gs said...

When I was young and saw the movie In the Heat of the Night, I fell absolutely in love with it. It was decades later that I discovered that the movie was based on a book. I immediately ordered the book and eagerly looked forward to reading it, because the book is always better than the movie, especially when it comes to mysteries.

The book arrived, I read it, and... it sucked. The book is terrible. A two-dimensional story, cardboard cutouts for characters. It's awful. Which left me in awe of whoever it was who read this utterly underwhelming story and saw in it the potential for an Academy-award winning movie.

Ron Scheer said...

As a writer whose plays have been performed, I can say that even when a director stays word for word to your script, the results can range all the way from disappointing to amazing. There are at least four factors: the talent, creativity, and career paths of the people involved and the box office.

With my interest in westerns, I've just been reading the original novel that introduced Hopalong Cassidy. William Boyd's portrayal was 180-degrees the exact opposite. The character on the page was only raw material for someone else's abilities and intentions.

Good luck. And I mean it.

Sandra Parshall said...

I hope it happens, Lonnie, because it will mean extra money for you and more attention to your books. I think the best advice for any writer who sells screen rights to a book is to take the money and divorce yourself emotionally from the whole enterprise. Accept that the movie will not be your book, faithfully reproduced on the screen.

As for movies that are better than the books, I think Jaws is a prime example. The movie has much more meaningful content and emotional impact than the book. I also think the movie of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is better than the book.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. BTW, I was at a conference when Charlain Harris was beginning the process of seeing her Sookie Stackhouse series become a series with HBO. It was facinating to listen to what was happening with her and with the series.

E. B. Davis said...

For the most part, I've found the books to be better than the movies. For example, Sometimes A Great Notion or Snow Falling on Cedar. I wonder if you would consider trying to write the screenplay? Is that unrealistic given that there are experience screenplay writers out there? It's something I've wondered about because I'd love to have one of my books go to the screen. As yet, I'd love to have one of my books make it into print. Good luck, I'm really happy for you.

June Shaw said...

Lonnie, I love the idea that one of your books could be made into a movie. What a terrific concept!

Leslie Budewitz said...

A great illustration of how movies and books can be very different and yet both be wonderful is Dr. Zhivago. The book is far more extensive and expansive than the movie -- even at nearly 4 hrs, it can only show a part of Pasternak's world. And yet, the movie is so beautifully excised from the book that it stands alone and you don't say 'but they left out ... ". At least, I don't. Book and movie are both exquisite, and almost entirely independent.

Congrats on the interest, Lonnie, and good luck with the process!


Anonymous said...

Whether they ever exercise their option and even if they make a movie that's not the story you wrote, it's a wonderful compliment to you and your book. We're all proud of you!!
Marilyn Levinson

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Yay! That's great. And it doesn't matter what happens, it's lovely to have the interest.

Hurray hurray hurray! (Okay, I'll bite..have you thought about who'll play Kitty? And can your pals somehow all have little roles? Wouldn't that be such fun?)

Keep us posted...