1. So I guess you’re fabulously rich beyond your wildest dreams, right? When I sold the film option to How I Live Now, I had a figure in my head that, I’m embarrassed to say, was huge. And wrong.  Writers are generally paid a small amount for the film option, and then a very small percentage of the shooting budget.  If your film has a massive budget (ie, lots of special effects, huge stars, worldwide locations), and if there are seven of them (cf, JK Rowling) this can make you rich.  If the film has a smallish budget with mostly unknown actors, that percentage is not a license to buy luxury cars.  I’m thinking of getting a new computer, though this one is, strictly speaking, not broken.  (Oh, Meg, you crazy kid.)
  2. Do you have a say in the casting? The decisions made by my lovely producers over the past few years have made me trust them implicitly, so I have no reason to think they’ll cast Meryl Streep in the role of Daisy.
  3. What if they change your novel? I’ve read the screenplay, and think it’s actually better than the book.  As a writer, you can get away with all sorts of omissions and fudges that don’t work on film. When I first talked about the book with the producers, they asked questions along the lines of — So, um, who is the enemy in How I Live Now?  And how does Daisy end up leaving England?  Do they leave Piper all alone? I’m afraid my answer to all three was, Duh….
  4. Has Johnny Depp been in touch? Do you mean has he invited me to brunch?  Sadly, no.  (see gratuitous picture above)
  5. Can you veto the decisions made by your producer/director? Given that I trust them, I don’t question their decisions, though they’re always great about keeping me informed and asking what I think.  I suppose it would be possible to take the war out of How I Live Now, re-set it in Orange County, and rewrite it as a porno film, but this doesn’t feel like one of those situations.
  6. When will the film be released? There’s talk of starting to shoot at about this time next year, and as a rough average, I’d guess nine months from start to release — so maybe, late 2011?
  7. Why don’t you look more excited? (My daughter always asks this one.)  Well I am, actually, madly excited.  But I’m also incredibly suspicious of good luck (I keep thinking of the guy who won the lottery, fulfilled his lifelong dream by buying a Lamborghini with the money, and then crashed it into a mountain on the first day and died.  Dark, moi?)  Also, I remember Deborah Moggach’s story about the filming of her book, Tulip Fever – as I recall, they were all standing around in costume, on set, waiting for someone to shout “action!”, when Gordon Brown (as Chancellor) did something with the tax laws that affected the film industry, and they pulled the whole production.  What stuck in my mind from that story was Deborah saying she had to get rid of 10,000 tulip bulbs in a weekend.  I was a more conscientious gardener in those days, and nearly wept that I hadn’t known her.
  8. Will I still be able to talk to you now you’re famous? I’m not talking to anyone till I finish the damned book.

41

26 thoughts on “Are you going to buy a Lamborghini? (FAQs about having a book made into a film)

  1. bookwitch 7 years ago

    I did wonder why you were joking about the £10 million. You know better than that. Though if/when it happens, I won’t be too grand to take a little for being stalking fan number one.

  2. Meg 7 years ago

    £10 million is likely to be the very rough neighbourhood of the shooting budget, not my cut!

  3. Susan 7 years ago

    I would like to just say I am beyond excited about this, so much so I spend hours on the phone to friends telling them its finally happening

    1. Meg 7 years ago

      Aw….I think you’re entitled to Stalking Fan number three status, Susan.

  4. Candy 7 years ago

    does stalking fan number two get a cut? very excited for you. i know what you mean about being suspicious about good luck.

  5. Meg 7 years ago

    All stalking fans entitled to a percentage. Shall I buy a Lamborghini and divide it up?

  6. bookwitch 7 years ago

    We can take turns being brave and being driven round by you. In London.

  7. jackie 7 years ago

    I hope that you will get a fil deal for The Bride’s Farewell some day soon. These things take so long to make. Have you ever watched Lost in Lamanchua by Terry Gilliam? That has Jonny Depp in, wonderful tale of a run of bad luck, and counter it with Bruce Robinson talking about the good luck that clicked time and again with Withnail, good luck and vision. May your film be blessed with both good luck and vision in equal measure. ( and I look forward to seeing the porn version set in Orange County too!)

  8. Meg 7 years ago

    Ah, luck. THAT’s why I’m not excited. Or at least pretending not to be excited….

  9. Kara 7 years ago

    OMG, I’m reading your book, what I was, and I’m on page 182, chapter twenty nine, and, (again) OMG!!!! I never thought finn was (spoiler deleted) thank you soo much for this book! 😀

  10. Eliza 7 years ago

    OMG when i was reading What I Was and I got to the bit where you found out about Finn I had worked it out about a page before… it still took me by supprise though!

    I spent the next week or so trying to get my mum to read it so i could talk about it.

    That was about a year half a year ago (she still hasn’t read it and my house is What I Was discussion free. Oh well…

    Eliza xx

  11. Mari 7 years ago

    Oh my gosh! I’m a bit torn over the whole thing. On the one hand I’m excited that it’s being made into a movie (it’s always exciting to see your favorite novel on the big screen); however, I really hope they don’t try to twist it into some sort of mainstream, flashy, “we’re all so happy” film like so many other novels have been displayed as.
    Fingers crossed that it’ll be as amazing as the novel! And best wishes to you Meg =)

    1. Meg 7 years ago

      Hi Mari
      From what i know about the producers and the director, I don’t think you have to worry about a “we’re all so happy” film. Really. I mean, it takes some special alchemy to make a great film, and you can’t ever predict what will fly and what won’t. But it’s a great team, and I’d say there’s a good chance we’re all going to love it.

  12. Kiara 7 years ago

    Do you have any news about auditions yet?
    I’m so excited for this! You’re one of my very favorite authors. I’m sure that they will do justice to your amazing book.

    1. Meg 7 years ago

      No news yet, Kiara. Stay tuned!

  13. Brittany 7 years ago

    I’m so glad it’s being made into a movie! This is may favourite book in the world 🙂

    Also, why did you make Daisy semi anorexic? Was it something that you experienced in life? Or just felt like it?

    1. Meg 7 years ago

      I was never anorexic, but like a lot of girls (and women) I had a pretty ambivalent relationship with food, and never liked my body. So I guess it’s one of those issues I’ve thought about a lot, and feel pretty strongly about — it’s such a waste, and a tragedy to hate yourself.

  14. Phoebe 6 years ago

    Wow – I read How I Live Now a good couple of years ago, and discovering that it’s being made into a film has really made me buzz with excitement! I think I may have to read it yet again. And again… and probably again after that, too.

    Is there any news on the progress of the film? I’m also curious about auditions!

    Much love, Meg!
    Phoebe xo

  15. Annie 6 years ago

    as Mari said, I hope they don’t change this- especially the ending! many good books have the endings changed to make nice friendly, Hollywood films…
    good luck, me and my friend are both really excited for this to come out as a film!

  16. Anna. 6 years ago

    Hello Meg .
    I am 15 years old and I’m from Hungary. I read your book and I like it. This is my favourite book. When will this book be made into a movie? If it were being made, who would be the characters?:)
    Anna.

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      Hi Anna
      The movie will be made next summer. I’m going to blog more about it when I get back to England later in the week, so watch out for the blog for more information. xxMeg

  17. Ariana 6 years ago

    Dear Meg Rosoff,

    are the castings over yet ? If no, where can I send my audition tape to? I’m a budding actress from Europe and I would love it to get just the CHANCE to apply for it.

    … And I just wanted to say that your books are all awsome (“How I live now” is my favourite book). If it was possible to subscribe an author, I’d probably subscribe you… 🙂

    Love,
    Ariana
    x

  18. Vicky 6 years ago

    Meg,
    I just finished reading your book this afternoon, and I adore it. I have now named it my favourite book. Any progress on the movie?

    Vicky(:

  19. Madison 6 years ago

    Meg, I read your book recently and I loved it so much, it moved me to tears! How was I to know that I’m auditioning for the role of Daisy this friday, and I can’t wait! It would be my dream to play the role, and even if I don’t just getting the chance is an honour! I hope whoever is cast for the role does the book justice 🙂

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