Unexpected Valentine’s Day News
Okay. People. Listen to me please.
If you google ‘del toro emma watson robin mckinley’ you will get a very long page of hits. Here are two more or less at random:
If you leave the ‘robin mckinley’ off your search there are a lot more hits. Wherein lies my point. My point further includes the ‘has evolved since’ quote in the clips that include me and the fact that (apparently, this is not a world I follow) del Toro has a habit of running too many projects at once to predict with any confidence when he might get around to one in particular. EVEN IF THIS FILM IS MADE, WHICH IS IN FACT NOT VERY LIKELY, IT WILL NOT, REPEAT NOT BE THE SCREEN VERSION OF MY NOVEL.
I had no idea that news of del Toro’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST project was about to be shot out there—or that there was news of del Toro’s B&B project. Which is another part of my point. Yes, Warner’s optioned BEAUTY* a while ago, but there are like 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 options bought for every ONE movie made, so while option money is lovely because you haven’t done anything extra for it except sign your name, I didn’t take it seriously. I’ve been optioned before. I did register the fact that it was del Toro and Emma Watson behind Warner’s interest, two filmy people whom I’ve even heard of**, an almost un-heard-of situation, and I therefore asked Merrilee about six months after signing if there’d been—by wild, unforeseen circumstance—any movement on the option, and she said there wasn’t. At which point I forgot about it.
Till this morning when I received an email including a del-Toro-Watson-McKinley link from a friend saying, Oh, hey, I’m impressed!, followed by about forty more emails and a tweet from people who love BEAUTY and are under the erroneous impression that (a) this means it’s going to get made and (b) del Toro’s movie (supposing it gets made) will have ANYTHING to do with the book.
So to reiterate: I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THIS. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS. Except that I signed an option contract a while ago. IT IS STILL VERY UNLIKELY THAT THE MOVIE WILL BE MADE. And IF IT IS MADE IT PROBABLY WON’T HAVE ANYTHING IN COMMON WITH MY NOVEL EXCEPT THE PRESENCE OF A BEAUTY AND A BEAST. Maybe. With del Toro you never really know. Which can be a good thing. If disconcerting.
And as the author of the book in question . . . if they make the movie, I hope they DO render my novel TOTALLY UNRECOGNISABLE. (Which that ‘has since evolved’ sounds like they will. Yaaay.) I’m not a fan of books into movies: they’re entirely different media, and not only do I think the translation process rarely does the book any favours, the reading experience is . . . well, it’s to be treasured. I don’t want it spoilt, for BEAUTY or any other good book, by even a dazzlingly first-rate film. I hate it that GENERATIONS of film-goers are now going to forget that LORD OF THE RINGS was a book first . . . or even at all.
I don’t know anything about Watson*** but del Toro has made some brilliant movies. His take on that very, very old and much retold tale of Beauty and the Beast could be fabulous. And if my version(s) helped inspire him, great. And the money I’d be paid for a film that was actually made would be very nice indeed.†
But I’m not counting these chickens before they’re hatched. And if they are hatched they won’t be chickens anyway. They’ll be velociraptors or harpy eagles or dodos or something.
And sure, I’d be glad of the rights money, if the movie is made. But what I’d like most of all is that some trifle of the movie publicity rubs off on the unrecognisable book . . . and a few more people READ IT. That is what makes a writer’s little heart beat faster. Readers.
* * *
Peter bought me a pink begonia in a pot for Valentine’s Day. The funny thing is he used to hate Valentine’s Day. But he’s gone all soppy with advancing age. I’ve had Valentine’s Day presents regularly the last few years. Not complaining. Not complaining. I said, I don’t have anything for you for Valentine’s Day†† and he said, no, no, this is one of those remaining genderist things, the bloke is supposed to produce a present. Oh, I said, burying my feminist instincts under the desire to keep on with SHADOWS, well, if you’re really determined, never mind the dozen red roses, I’d much rather have a houseplant.
Peter seems to think begonias lack fervour and ardency. But I like begonias. I can usually even keep them alive. It’s not that I don’t love a vaseful of red roses, but they don’t last long. Don’t you want your Valentine to last?
Also, there was champagne.
* * *
* and ROSE DAUGHTER, because this is how Hollywood works: they don’t want a rival B&B retelling if they can help it, so they block this one as a clause in the option for the other.^
^ Hollywood’s predilection for wanting control over EVERYTHING is a can of worms I’m not going to open here. But my desire to control my own books’ fate is why I regularly refuse to entertain film option offers.
** true confession: I’ve only ever seen the first HARRY POTTER film and . . . ahem . . . wasn’t hugely riveted. And while I loved the first HELLBOY I’m like, oh, there’s another one?, and I loved BLADE II but I didn’t know till I looked up del Toro’s filmography this minute that he directed it. I’m a Wesley Snipes girl. Although even Snipes couldn’t rescue BLADE III. But del Toro has the fantasy chops, certainly. They just don’t have a lot in common with mine.^
^ If his are chops, mine are sort of . . . pudding. Chocolate pudding.
*** Except that she had great hair when she was a little kid.
† Although loose change by Hollywood standards.
†† My day was further complicated by taking Wolfgang out to Warm Upford to the garage for his MOT.^ Or rather, driving him out there was not a problem, but it’s about five miles back to New Arcadia over hill and dale. Peter, coming in to find us crashed out on the sofa, said, were the hellhounds tired? No, I said, but I was. We generally have our longer hurtle in the morning, and by evening hurtle time, even early evening so we were back to town streetlights by the time it was dark enough to need them, I’ve been at SHADOWS for several hours and adventures are not entirely welcome.
Now, all fingers crossed that when I ring up the garage tomorrow he’s passed.
^ Required yearly road test.
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