And with very great pleasure, I welcome Neal Asher to my site 🙂
‘If Gridlinked was turned into a film, who would you want to play Cormac?’ is a question I’m often asked, and slightly baffled by. Being a writer and therefore a font of all wisdom, I’m slightly averse to letting on that firstly I never thought about it till you asked, and secondly, I haven’t got a clue. Though I enjoy films I’m not sufficiently interested in them to know the names of anyone but some of the big stars, directors and producers. I certainly don’t know the names of the new young things who are on the rise and who are mentioned when the questioner gets to what he really wants: telling me who he thinks would be good in the part. Now, when asked that question and not having a long list to call on, I reply, ‘Maybe Keiffer Sutherland,’ because over the last three or four years I’ve overdosed on 24, and he seems a safe bet as a super-agent.
I don’t see the Cormac books turned into a hollywood type film because, let’s face it, how many modern SF books do you know of that have been turned into such a film? With what we see coming out of Hollywood an SF writer has to fulfill certain criteria, first and foremost of which is that he has to be dead. As Terry Pratchett has noted, and which is why his books are now being made into films for TV, if someone in Hollywood buys the option on one of your books that almost guarantees that you won’t see it up there on the screen. I’ve had a few nibbles, from a production company called Blue Train Entertainment, and from Fox, but they came to nothing. And I’m realistic enough to know that if any of my books had been bought then the sensible move is to take the money, say thank you very much, and thereafter forget about it all.
I have to add that I’m not being entirely honest here, since it’s not all doom and gloom on the film front for me. I have provided a load of material for the next Heavy Metal movie being hawked about by Tim Miller of Blur Studios and Kevin Eastman of Ninja Turtles fame. This also has heavyweights on board like Joe Haldeman, James Cameron, David Fincher, but still, I’ve heard nothing for a year now…
But y’know, I’d much prefer the Cormac books turned into some stonking big TV series for the SciFi channel. Something like Babylon Five with each of the five books using up say twelve episodes. After that succeeds, as of course it surely would, then maybe they would take the Spatterjay books and turn them into an even more lavish series, with excellent CGI sails (living creatures in those books) and Sniper’s drone shell going on display at SF conventions around the world. Thereafter, because of the huge success of it all, all the major Hollywood directors/producers will get in a bidding war to obtain the rights to the rest of my books. Speilberg will turn Cowl into a massive epic packed with CGI dinosaurs and a superb depiction of New London poised over the face of the sun. Cameron will receive awards for the space battles in Hilldiggers and Ridley Scott will employ H. R. Giger to design the hooders and gabbleducks in The Technician.
Then I woke up and it was time to write another book.
Would I want those guys getting their hands on my stuff? Yeah, the money would be rather nice, but really I’d want to know that whoever is in charge has some sort of idea about what they’re dealing with. Remember all those years ago the first book of The Lord of the Rings being turned into an animated film? Then the financial decision not to do the next two films? I thought I would never see a decent production of those books, then along came Peter Jackson. There he was, a complete anorak and fanboy, an enthusiast, someone who had read and enjoyed those books and wanted to do them justice. And he did. I’d want someone like him in charge, someone who gets it, an SF reader, a fanboy, an unashamed drooler over exploding spaceships and flesh-eating aliens.
Meanwhile, I’ll keep plugging away at a keyboard. Somewhere out there, I reckon, my very own Peter Jackson is worming his way up through the film world, whilst avidly reading my books. I hope he gets to the top some time before I hear that big skeletal bugger sharpening his scythe.