Monday, September 17, 2018

Casting Calls In My Dreams

Q: If a major producer/production company wanted to option or buy your book…but wanted to change it in major ways, as often happens in Hollywood, would you still sell it? 

- from Susan

A: Hahahaha. I remember Lee Childexplaining in his low key way, with a slight shrug of the shoulder, that he objected all the way to the bank when Tom Cruise paid for the Jack Reacher movie rights. The other approach I admire is Ann Cleeves. She sold her Vera books and character but has been able to carve out a role in the long-running TV series that keeps the character aligned closely with the stories. And she and the actress who plays Vera so well, Brenda Blethyn have bonded and that keeps Cleeves’ book-to-TV enterprise faithful.

Both my first and second series got nibbles from Hollywood, but my agents warned me that it was such a long shot that I shouldn’t start thinking about negotiating points. A friend just told me her series has had a nibble that has progressed to a small bite that has yet to become a sandwich. But it can happen.

Like a lot of writers, I have done some dream casting. Katherine and Michael Goff, the middle-aged Americans who arrive in a small French village with high hopes and a degree of naivety? Emma Thompson and Jeff Bridges, please. 

Dani O’Rourke, San Francisco fundraiser to the rich, and her playboy ex-husband? Janelle Monae and Jesse Eisenberg. In my books, Dani isn’t black in the books, but there’s no reason she couldn’t be, and I like Janelle’s attitude. Jesse looks to me like a rich kid with no sense of boundaries and that’s Dickie to the core!

But to answer the question, I can’t answer the question. While I’d like to think I have the strength and total belief in my characters that Sue Graftonheld onto throughout Kinsey’s long career, I have a hunch I might babble on about it until someone actually offered me a deal. (So, if anyone listening…..)


Paul D. Marks said...

It's hard to say no when Hollywood comes calling, isn't it? Sue Grafton had a lot of courage, and financial security, to be able to do that. She also came from a screenwriting background so she knew the BS one had to put up with. Which isn't to say it's not worth it sometimes.

विकास नैनवाल 'अंजान' said...

I don't think it should matter much. The books are always going to be there. Hollywood can do nothing about it.

Terry said...

Nibbles? Definitely means there are fish waiting to bite. Keep casting, Susan—the fishing kind first, the movie kind later. It could happen.

Susan C Shea said...

Paul, somehow Ann Cleeves has managed to do it right, but I have the greatest respect for Sue Grafton's decision. As you say, she knew the biz from the inside.

Susan C Shea said...

Terry, I don't think these are the kinds of nibbles that lead to anything. Apparently, people at production companies read Publisher's Weekly and go hunting from there. But the colleague who got a small bite...well, that might just be something. Fingers crossed for her.

James W. Ziskin said...

Great casting ideas. Janelle Monae would be great as Dani.

Susan C Shea said...

Jim, I started thinking about her after seeing her in Hidden Figures. Saw her in something else later and it began to grow on me. There's absolutely no reason the Dani character couldn't be an African American woman. Dickie would have fallen for her in a SF heartbeat, and she'd do quite well in her profession.