Monday, October 27, 2014

Hild on the big screen?

I think Hild is going to go down as my favorite read this year! Guess I will read it again next year:) And would love to see it on a big screen. Any chance of that ever happening?

Late last year, three or four weeks after the book came out, it was optioned for an enormous sum of money. The producer is well known, respected as one of the kings of literary-novel-to-film adaptation. We had a deal—a hard-negotiated deal memo; I'd had extensive phone conversations with the producer about writers and general story parameters; I'd got a contract which I sent back for minor revisions—and then, poof, the producer lost his mind and just vanished. Gone. No one knew where he was and there were rumours of him firing half his company.

It was awful: the film/tv rights were tied up but there was no money and no communication at all from the producer. I'd turned down two other offers once the deal was—as I thought—done. But then...nothing. And more nothing. My agents talked about suing him. I didn't want that—but I did want out of the limbo I was in. It took months to sort out, but now it's officially over, and (a) I can talk about it, (b) we'll be trying again soon, probably when the paperback's been out a couple of weeks.

I think, all in all, I'd like either a sequence of high-production-value films with the addition of lots of CGI and motion-capture stuff (I can't think how else to give continuity to the actor playing Hild—she goes from age 3 to 66 over the course of the books; I don't think anyone's ever done that). But I could also see it as a premium cable series.

But this setting and story will be a challenge to realise on screen. Oh, not the world per se (HBO and Game of Thrones have shown that amazing world-building is possible, set- and art-production-wise) but the sheer pace and breadth of cultural change inherent in the story. It would require absolutely top-notch writing, and acting, and directing, all produced by someone who is utterly committed to the whole arc. (I'd hate to see done to Hild what happened to Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin novels.) And it wouldn't be cheap. So: a lot of barriers. But, yes, one day I think we'll see it on screen.

Who would play Hild? I've always liked Saorsie Ronan for the part. I believed her in Hanna. My cousin, Clare Higgins, would have made a brilliant Breguswith but sadly I think we now might need someone younger.

But who should play the other parts? I don't know. What do you think?
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