To Movie or Not to Movie

Well, my, my, my, but you are a bloodthirsty lot. So far, #2, A Tale of Personal Humiliation, is the Barack Obama to the Hilary Clinton of #1, Unlikely Musicals, in my Viewer’s Choice blog poll. I just may have the unenviable task of trolling through my huge trove of personal humiliation stories to find that one that I could actually speak about in public. Polls are open until midnight tonight, EST. Vote now.

After I mentioned the script update, someone here asked me if I even wanted Hollywood to make a movie out of my books.

The answer is, sure, why not?

First of all—and let me just be brutally honest here—writers of teen books don’t usually make boatloads of money. Last year was the first year I didn’t also work a freelance job to pay my bills. We do what we do because we love it, and if we’re lucky, we make enough to cover the rent and keep writing.

But in Hollywood, I am convinced they roll out of bed and blow their noses on twenty-dollar bills. They shower, then wipe their wet faces on towels made from the bones of pie-eyed dreamers from the Midwest and specially laundered, eco-friendly fifty-dollar bills, which they then throw away so they can start with a fresh set the next day. We’re talking stupid money. “I’ve got this round and the next” kind of money. “Who’s your daddy?” kind of money. I’m not proud. I am happy to take their filthy lucre. Really, really happy. No problems with the Tinseltown subsidization of my crazy addiction to things like food and shelter. There’s always the possibility they’ll make a good movie. And if nothing else, maybe people will read the books. I’m a fan of anything that leads people to read.

But beyond the Give Me Your Cash aspect of it, I think it would be very cool to see somebody’s interpretation of my books on the screen. Hopefully, it won’t be something like this:

MOVIE ANNOUNCER VOICE (MAV): When terror comes calling, these bitches put it in gear, Victorian style!

(CUT TO: the Spence girls, stripping down to corsets, frilly panties, and lace-up boots.)

MAV: They’re booted, laced, and ready to kick supernatural ass!

(CUT TO: tight shot of Felicity pulling back an arrow.)

FELICITY: It’s Winterlands time for you, Tracker Boy. But first, let’s have a gratuitous shot of my breasts.

(CUE banging rap soundtrack. CUT TO: shot of Fee’s breasts followed by various, Matrix-style slo-mo shots of the girls dodging spears, trackers, Jack the Ripper, Van Helsing, a malevolent and possessed Charles Dickens, and vampires led by Pippa, who would now inexplicably be a vampire so that she could wear red contact lenses and a black leather gown with a high collar. CUT TO: Mrs. Nightwing racing onto the back lawn. She reaches under her bustle and pulls out an AK-47.)

MRS. NIGHTWING: “Say hello to my little friend!”

(CUT TO: egregiously bad, lingering shots of the girls skinny-dipping in the lake.)

MAV: Bastardized from the New York Times bestselling novel, with the music of Lil Kartik and the Gypsies featuring T-Fowlson…

(PULL BACK to reveal Kartik and the Boyz singing and dancing in the woods while the girls groove in the lake like Spence’s version of a pool party. Gemma grabs a petticoat which barely covers her ass and runs after Kartik and Ithal.)

GEMMA: Kartik! Wait!
KARTIK: Gemma, why you gotta be like that, yo?
ITHAL: K-Friend, what is this problem now?
KARTIK: Shawty here think she all that. Got no respect for the Rakshana from the 400056 west.
ITHAL: But she is, how you say, your boo, yes?
GEMMA: Kartik, you have to understand, with great power comes great responsibility.
ITHAL: I am hearing this somewhere before. You have brother who crawls on walls? Freakish, with web hands?

(CUT TO: Kartik’s POV, as he sees several Poppy Warriors hanging ominously from the trees, ready to pounce.)

KARTIK: Time we be killin’, yo!
GEMMA: We be illin’?
ITHAL: No, we be chillin’.
FELICITY (to creature): Don’t make me get up in your grillin’! For real’n’! Are you feelin’ me?
ANN: Could we just get to the killin’? Like, now?

(Full-scale bloodbath ensues. Pippa shows up in red contact lenses and a black leather gown. She and Felicity begin circling each other while Ann stands by.)

FELICITY: Nice threads.
PIPPA: Thanks. Blood of the Goat Couture. Come back with me and I’ll get you one just like it.
FELICITY: All it will cost me is my soul, right?
PIPPA: (shrugs) Souls are overrated. Black leather lasts forever.
FELICITY: God, you’re hot when you’re evil.
PIPPA: I know. I can’t help it.
ANN (rolling her eyes): Bitch, please. Fee, could you stake that skank? We’re missing toffee time.

MAV: The ladies of Spence aren’t lying back and thinking of England anymore. And when these rebel angels unleash a great and terrible power, hope will be a sweet far thing, and danger will be closer than ever…

We laugh now. It could totally happen. They could absolutely make “AGATB Swedish Bikini Team Alien Meets Predator Meets Charles Dickens.” But having spoken to Charles Sturridge, the director, and having seen his work, I feel reasonably confident that he would make a lovely movie that will not make any of us want to drive large metal spikes through our heads. Really, go rent “Brideshead Revisited” and see for yourself. Not an AK-47 in sight.

(Actually, now I can’t stop giggling over the idea of AGATB being filmed as a Victorian “Step Up” or “Bring It On” and there’s a dance competition between the Winterlands creatures and Gemma and Co., but it’s Mrs. Nightwing’s audacious pop-n-lock routine that cinches the win. You haven’t lived till you’ve seen an uptight boarding school headmistress do a double back flip into a head spin.)

I have also been asked who I would want to see cast in the movie. Truthfully, I hope they go with unknowns for the girls, though I met Sarah Bolger at the “Spiderwick” premiere (she plays Mallory), and I thought she was terrific. Interestingly, the parts I tend to cast in my head are the women, not the girls. At various times, I have pictured Helen Mirren, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Felicity Kendall, and Prunella Scales as Mrs. Nightwing (with a bit of my grandmother thrown in).

In my fantasies, I’ve also imagined Cate Blanchett, Emma Thompson, Kristen Scott Thomas, and Jennifer Ehle as Miss Moore. (Come on, how fun would it be to cast the definitive Elizabeth Bennet as Miss Moore?) I have no idea about anyone else.

What about you? Any thoughts about who you’d like to see cast if this thing ever gets greenlighted? (greenlit?) And if anybody says Miley Cyrus, I will rig my LJ to give off an electric shock. You have been warned.

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