I'm waiting to hear back from Hollywood.
This is a position many authors find themselves in, waiting to hear if their books are going to be made into movies. My last novel, Citizen Vince, was optioned by HBO Films (the theatrical division of HBO) and the great Richard Russo (who discovered the book when it was in galley) wrote a killer script based on the novel. So now... I wait.
During all of this, the author is not really in the loop (honestly, you don't want to be) but I do catch whiffs of various casting ideas (is Charles Nelson Reilly even alive?) and hear about directors and agents who love it. It's all fine as long as you don't take it too seriously or spend the imaginary money.
A few years back, I wrote a couple of screenplays myself and "took meetings" with various producers and studio people. I understand how cynical the whole process can make writers (I'm finally reading Day of the Locust... any other Hollywood recommendations out there?) but I thought it was great fun. They tell you how smart you are, pay you a little bit, and don't humiliate you by actually making your movie. What's not to like?
I even had an agent in Hollywood for a while, a nice guy who, upon having me in his office the third time, said it was great to finally meet me. I told him it was the third time I'd met him. He said, "I mean it's great to finally meet you in person." I told him I thought I was in person the first two times. When I finally fired him I had to leave a phone message because he hadn't returned my calls in weeks — which begs the question, can you actually fire someone who won't call you back?
It all makes me wish that I had Ari Gold as my Hollywood agent. Ari is the best character on my favorite television show, the HBO series Entourage, a profanity-ranting ball of fire played by Jeremy Piven. After a meeting, his assistant Lloyd asks how it went. Ari fires back: "How did the f***in' Bay of Pigs go, Lloyd?"
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Jess Walter is the author of eight books, including Beautiful Ruins and We Live in Water. He's been a finalist for the National Book Award and PEN/USA Literary prize and won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel.
Books mentioned in this post
Jess Walter is the author of Beautiful Ruins (P.S.)