Monday, June 21, 2010

Would Distant Cousin Make a Good Movie?


Many and many a reader have told us Distant Cousin would make an outstanding movie. More than a few have claimed that the whole set of books would make a terrific television series. If you have read any of them, you too are entitled to an opinion.

As it happens, one agent in Hollywood has read them and agrees. (He says not to call him an agent. The term has legal implications in California. Call him a literary representative instead.) This literary representative can give you chapter and verse on the incredibly long odds of any given story reaching the silver screen.

Most of the odds have nothing to do with how great a movie a given story might make. They have to do with people: what people get hold of what story and how they feel about it at the time. Perhaps they have just had a good lunch, or a bad lunch. Perhaps they know someone who is looking for a certain kind of story. Or perhaps they find a story that suggests certain actors to them. After that it may depend on whether or not the actors are available, or interested, or whether their agents like or do not like the story. Or it could depend on any one of six dozen other variables.

This gentleman points out that many movies are made for which there seems to be no rational explanation. Often these movies are inexplicably bad, as in how-could-they-not-have-known bad. Sometimes a gem of a movie comes out of nowhere, but this is rare, he says, very rare.

The bottom line is that almost no movies get made without someone, or a number of someones, being willing to gamble immense sums of money on it. In the case of Distant Cousin, this literary representative gave $100,000,000 as a ballpark figure. Why, you ask? Not to spoil anything, but mainly because of the crowd scenes. He made this statement some years ago, before digital crowds became common. (Has anyone seen Gladiator?) Perhaps digitized crowds entitle a movie producer to a discount.

In any case, if any readers out there happen to know a person or several persons with $100,000,000 or so who might be willing to risk it on making a movie of Distant Cousin, we will be happy to inform our literary representative.

But no matter what happens or doesn't happen movie-wise, we can point out one thing for certain right now: almost no movie ever made is as good as the book it came from. The best way to experience the world of an absorbing story is on the screen between your ears. And in so doing, you save $99,999,995. Now, that's value!

For the WheelChair Mommy's opinion on the movie possibility, see her guest post!

3 comments:

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I don't have the money, as you well know, but I am rapidly gaining experience at writing screenplay adaptations of books! I am starting my 7th today! (Does it count that it's the 7th draft of the same darn adaptation? Shhh... don't tell anyone!)

So when it's time to write the script, let me know!

Floyd M. Orr said...

As I have stated since my review of the first book, I have consistently seen the storyline in my head as a single Spielberg-type movie. As with so many other adaptations, the screenwriter might take a little license by bringing in elements from the later books in the series, but I think one big blockbuster would be the way to go. It should not have too much computer generated crap in it, either; just enough to satisfy the teenagers. The movie version should display the adult theme of Close Encounters and the character development of E.T., with plenty of the captivating magic of both.

lonestar said...

I like the books. A movie? I like the intimacy of reading the story and seeing it in my mind. I have so often been disappointed in what ends up on the screen. It isn't how I see it while reading or thinking about the story and it confuses it all.
On the other hand, it would reach so many more people.
Love the books- I can see the movie in my mind and doubt anyone else is seeing the same thing. AND- the Hollywood version might not allow Darcy to be the sweet innocent person she is.
I am going to think about this some more.