Does Hol­ly­wood re­ally have the write stuff?

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - INSIDER - EN­TER­TAIN­MENT WRITER

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.

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