Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hollywood on the table ... by Beth Hoffman

So this month we’re talking about Hollywood. Ah, yes—the place where fantasies are played out, dreams come true or crash and burn, careers are made and lives destroyed—all for the sake of that glorious but sometimes dangerous mixture of art meets ego. Oh, and money of course. Sometimes buckets of it.

Though I’m thrilled to have a well-respected film producer interested in Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, it’s not something that was on my radar when I wrote my novel. During those times when I allow myself to envision my story on the silver screen, I see, so vividly, Oletta and CeeCee in the kitchen of that big old home in Savannah, and I laugh when imagining the slugs flying through the night air, wondering how they’d capture that scene—slow motion or special effects? And no real slugs please! Is there such a thing as s stunt slug? Probably not.

But here’s the thing—I’m not jumping out of my skin to move forward and close any deals, and the reason might sound odd, but it’s true. I’m scared. Scared that somehow the characters I love so much will not be portrayed and/or played in the manner I see them and know them, and scared that somewhere in that all-important phase of transforming a full-length novel into a screenplay, something valuable will be forever lost. I suspect most authors have experienced these fears when presented with a film offer.

Maybe it’s due to all I’ve been through in my life, but right now I’m happy with where things are, so while I am genuinely delighted and honored to have a bona fide offer sitting neatly on the table, and while I do enjoy the occasional Technicolor daydream, I’m happy to wait patiently and watch how things pan out. (No pun intended … lol.)


  1. I understand how you feel because I often feel the same way when a book I love is turned into a movie - I'm almost afraid to see it because they might not get it right.

  2. Beth, I bought your book from you at Books by the Banks. It's fabulous!

    I know just what you mean, though, about Hollywood's potential for making or breaking a story. As a reader, it's just as important that characters and situations ring true as to the author.

    Best of luck with it, though. I would dearly love to see these characters on the big screen. They're wonderfully interesting and dear.

  3. I'm still laughing over the idea of stunt slugs!

    Congrats on the offer! I totally understand your trepidation. I only have small screen experience to go by, and I think I got very lucky with the scriptwriter and the director/producers of See Jane Date, which was my first book. The whole experience was exhilarating. SO much was changed, though, including the main character's last name, which was very important to me in the book because she was named after a close friend of mine who'd recently died (and to whom the book was dedicated), and some scenes were rewritten in totally arbitrary ways. But the spirit of the book, what I meant to say about life and love at that time, absolutely shone through.

    I can't think of the characters without visualizing them as those actors and actresses, though, which is both weird and fun.

    Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is so wonderful and if you do allow it to made into a film, I hope it's just as you would dream.

  4. Hi Kathy, boy...isn't it the truth? Some books translate beautifully into screen plays while others fall short. The producer (who is talented and well respected) is currently producing a "Southern" film, so that helps me feel more comfortable, but I'll need to have a few serious meetings before I can make a decision.

  5. Hi Karen ... I'm tickled that you loved CeeCee's story. Thanks so much! I'll admit that it would be wonderful to see Oletta on the big screen, and of course Thelma Rae and those flying!

  6. Hi Melissa. I thought of you and the things you learned and experienced when SEE JANE DATE was transformed into a film. It's so good to hear that your producer(s) held fast to the spirit of your book!

  7. Don't be scared-- enjoy every second!! Best of luck with it!

  8. Beth, I think your trepidation is completely understandable. It's hard to imagine someone else in control of our characters. But like Melissa said, if they can capture the spirit of the book that's the important part. Congratulations on the offer!

  9. HI Beth,
    I can understand your reservations.
    I often stay away from film versions of books I love because the director's eye view is not always the view the author gave me. Some scenes in books, I believe can get lost on film. Saying that some things can be brought to life.

    Still waiting to see your fab novel on general release in the UK. It would be a hit. I loved it!


  10. Yes ... y'all are right. I know that if the producer captures the true spirit of he story it will most likely be just fine with me. Because this is such a character-driven story, I would have to make it part of the contract that I have some say-so in the selection of actors -- most especially with CeeCee and Oletta.

    Yikes, so much to think about.

    Thank you, Brenda!

    Maria, that's it in a nutshell. Hard to think of someone in control of MY characters. I'm like a momma bear... lol.

    Carol, thanks so much! I've had many emails from gals in the UK.

  11. You definitely have some fun characters that actors would like to play and well as some riotous scenes!

  12. Your post brings the film adaptations of Jane Austen's novels to mind. The films are successful, again and again, but stripped of Jane Austen's narrative voice, they have little to do with Jane Austen's books (IMHO).

  13. Beth, I hope if it gets made, it gets made exactly as you want it.

    Me, I'm too...*something* to worry about what happens to a book of mine once it enters another medium. E.g., I was happy to be sent the option money for The Thin Pink Line. When people asked if I worried about what the movie people might do with it - it's never been made - I said, "No, I'm just glad someone just paid part of my kid's tuition this year."

  14. Beth, I think it's wonderful you're being so careful about things. I put a lot of stake in gut feelings, and I'm sure you'll know just when the time is right. BTW, congratulations!

  15. Very smart to tread carefully in the crazy world of Hollywood... I hope you reach a decision that feels right to you! In the meantime, bask in the joy of knowing how many people are reading and loving your book.

  16. Hi Beth, I'm so happy to have found you here on this blog. I was so touched by your kindness when I read and blogged about Saving Cee Cee earlier this year.
    I can understand your hesitation, and mixed elation. Very few movies have lived up to the books I've read, and yet imagine the people who may be touched by your story in film.
    Wishing you the very best!