How books fill Hollywood’s need for good stories – Pasadena Star News

Ever since “Gone With the Wind” and “Wizard of Oz,” Hollywood has made a habit of turning popular novels into screen stories. (Fun fact: The book’s first screen adaptation dates back to 1899, when French director Georges Méliès made a version of “Cinderella.”)

But in recent years, Hollywood’s reading style has increased.

Marc Berman, TV analyst at Programming Insider says: “With so many channels needing scripted programming, Hollywood continues to look to books as a breeding ground for material that can be turned into series.” or a movie.

Why stories from books? “Immediate benefit is a common concept in the audience.”

But successfully interpreting printed materials in audio or visual form requires a lot.

David Windsor, who together with Casey Johnson, explains that: – created and participated in the production of the new ABC series, “You’re Not Dead Yet.”

The two adapted the comic from the book “Confessions of a Forty-Something F**k Up,” written by UK writer Alexandra Potter.

Johnson says: “One challenge was to allow ourselves to deviate from the characters and the stories of the book if we felt it was necessary. “In the beginning you almost feel obligated to stay true to the first piece of information. But sometimes, you allow yourself the freedom to take what comes first and make it work for the show. ”

With the advent of streaming services, there are many opportunities to help a wide variety of people, says author Melissa Hill, whose book, “Something at Tiffany’s,” was turned into a movie by Amazon. Studios.

“Also, there’s a huge appetite for book-to-screen projects that might not have worked as well as live-action adaptations, which is good for writers,” he says.

Hill has many book adaptations and is relatively ignorant of the process.

“Television and film writing is a completely different beast that comes with its own challenges and obstacles, so I’m more than happy to pass it on to someone else,” Hill admits. Besides, I’ve told my story exactly as I wanted to, and I’m always interested in seeing someone else’s interpretation of it.”

Enter screenwriter Tamara Chestna, who worked on “Tiffany’s,” her third book adaptation to be released a few years ago.

“Books are a great source of stories. People and managers really enjoy waking them up. There is something very intoxicating about reading books and living with those characters for so long – we don’t have the luxury of doing that in screenplays.

Guided by the stars

Chestna credits actress Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine, for putting female-driven novels “at the forefront” in recent years, such as Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” and “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens, among others.

“Reese’s Book Club has really done for this era what Oprah’s Book Club did for reading in the 1990s. That has been a real success in terms of business…providing a lot of real research and results for of the studios to say, ‘Look how many women are reading these books because of him. They’re going to come out and see these movies and this TV series.'”

Other female stars also support the book industry: Chestna says Natalie Portman, who regularly posts on social media about the books she reads, and Emma Roberts, who has a deal with Hulu through the company home of production, Belletrist TV.

“I love when female stars are adapting,” says Chestna.

Emma Roberts is developing book habits with her Beltrist Book Club. Her first project: Carola Lovering’s “Tell Me Lies” for Hulu.

Lorato said he appreciates how “Lies” has reached a wider audience on Hulu and boosted book sales.

“I see it as expanding the story in a way that works well on the screen and ultimately gives it new dimensions. This process has been very exciting for me as a writer – it is an important point in my life,” he says. “The earlier episodes feel closer to the book, but as the season goes on, it becomes its own thing.”

Lovering, who was brought on as a consulting producer, says the biggest challenge “was creating a lot of design for the series, and doing everything exterior and cinematic, because the book is It’s very internally written and player-driven.”

Different thoughts

In the darkest days of the epidemic, audiences longed for escapism, not to be easy, but now, according to Duffy, there is an opportunity to open up material with dark themes.

“The development period is very long since [development] on the screen that something ‘unfashionable’ now can be a hot thing once it’s ready to be released,” he says. “It’s our job to give everything creative or a festival that they want, but we have such good relationships with all genres, and markets in different countries, that we can find the right home for commercial romcom and sci-fi. all books in one week. ”

Book-to-screen adaptations continue to be a priority for Netflix, given the success of shows like “The Lincoln Lawyer” and “From Scratch,” and movies “Enola Holmes 2” and “The Gray Man.”

The market is more competitive than ever. That’s why Jinny Howe, Netflix’s executive producer of drama series, remains focused on the stories and writers she sees as having the most impact on Netflix members — viewers who see parts of their lives unfold. on the screen.

“The benefit of this is that we get to see a lot of amazing stories and new ideas emerge, expanding the range of stories we share and discover,” Howe says.

That means more opportunities for writers to write stories that represent their life experiences, and then “grow those stories around the world as television series and movies,” says Howe.

He pointed to the success of Molly Smith Metzler’s Netflix adaptation of Stephanie Land’s “Maid.”

Margaret Qualley as Alex in the Netflix series “MAID” based on Stephanie Land’s memoir. (Credit RICARDO HUBBS/NETFLIX © 2021)

“It’s been amazing to see how audiences have connected with the themes of motherhood, poverty, and survival from this book throughout the series.”

It also works in reverse: Audiences search for their favorite books based on or inspired by.

“We saw a lot of new audiences turn to the ‘Bridgerton’ books after the series started. It was great to see them return to the entire bestseller list, and for author Julia Quinn to expand the universe for fans. they’re young,” Howe says.

At one point, five books from the series were on the New York Times bestseller list, “The Duke and I” held at #1 for four weeks.

Howe collaborates with writers and publishers to support titles with “Now a Netflix Series” confirmed and exploded.

“It’s a virtuous cycle and ultimately the audience wins by having more ads to hear some of their favorite stories.”

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