Does Hollywood really have the write stuff?
It is every author’s dream to have their book turned into a movie or television show — but sometimes it can also become their nightmare. For every Game of Thrones or Harry Potter treatment, which turns authors such as George RR Martin or JK Rowling into household names, there is a World War Z, a movie that managed to be completely unlike the Max Brooks book on which it was based.
However, even if the movie or television show does terrible things to your book, it can still be a blessing, as it exposes the work to a much wider audience — most of whom know that books are always better than the screen version.
Australian authors also seem to be hot property at the moment, with the Foxtel miniseries of Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies attracting a who’s who of big stars and Trent Dalton’s bestseller Boy Meets World signed up.
Next cab off the rank is Dervla McTiernan, whose debut crime novel The Ruin has just been picked up by
Irish actor Colin Farrell’s production company. Farrell’s Chapel Place productions, along with Australian film company Hopscotch, will adapt it and, if successful, it could be the start of an ongoing series.
The book is set on the west coast of Ireland, with the main character a detective Cormac Reilly.
McTiernan was obviously delighted with the news.
“I couldn’t be happier with the team that is coming together with Hopscotch to produce the film,” she said.
“I think it’s such a vote of confidence in the book, that Colin and Claudine Farrell have chosen The Ruin as the first project for their new production company.
“I think I’m extraordinarily lucky that people with this level of talent and experience have found something in the book that inspires them.”
HarperCollins publishes The Ruin and its sequel The Scholar in Australia and fiction publisher Anna Valdinger was also “so thrilled that Dervla McTiernan’s best-selling debut novel is being adapted for film”.
“Having a high-profile Irish production company involved speaks to the authenticity of her writing,” she said. “Dervla is a genius at making us care deeply about her characters right from page one; she writes with a wonderful compassion and insight, while crafting a tense, compelling mystery.
Of course, the bigger the author, the more they are allowed to have an opinion on both the script and how much of the book’s extra detail gets cut out.
Rowling reportedly had the final say on all of the eight movies based on her seven books.
Martin was deeply involved in the early series of GoT and, as a former TV script writer, had writing credits on several episodes.
While the Foxtelscreened HBO series did end in controversy, that had little to do with him, as it had passed beyond his books.
Yet, if the adaptation does horrible things to the source material, there is still hope.
Max Brooks, who saw his World War Z trashed for the Brad Pitt movie, actually didn’t mind the final product.
“I was expecting to hate it and I wanted to hate it because it was so different from my book, and yet the fact that it was so different from my book made it easier to watch because I didn’t watch my characters and my
story get mangled,” Brooks told USA Today. “So I was just watching somebody else’s zombie movie, which was fun and intense.” THE RUIN IS OUT NOW, PUBLISHED BY HARPERCOLLINS AUSTRALIA, RRP $ 16.99 We reckon our Book of the Month — The Collaborator, by Diane Armstrong — would be a phenomenal movie or miniseries, based on a true story and set in both Holocaust-era Europe and modern-day Australia. You can get a copy for a 30 per cent discount at Booktopia, using the code NCBT19; and tell us your favourite (and worst) screen adaptations at the Sunday Book Club group on Facebook.
Having a high-profile production company involved speaks to the authenticity of her writing
Brad Pitt in the World War Z movie that trashed the book.
Emilia Clarke in the stunning Game Of Thrones.
Dervla McTiernan’s debut crime novel The Ruin has been picked up by Colin Farrell’s production company.