Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Film Patience

I got some papers in the post today. I had to go down to the bottom of the track (1/2 mile from the house) to get them. Ice. Rain. Snow. Winds up to 60mph. Sleet...

Whatever. Just December at Upper Park. No worries.

The papers (which were a bit damp - I had to dry them out on the radiator) were contracts for renewing the film rights option on Gabriel's Story. Yah! This is the eight or so year that Gabriel's Story has been in the capable hands of Redwave Films. They're an independent production company based in the UK, with Uberto Pasolini in charge. He's the guy behind The Full Monty. Since that rather huge hit they've specialized mostly in smaller films. He's got what could be a bigger one coming out next year, Bel Ami, starring Robert Patinson, Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Colm Meaney. Quite a cast.

What about my novel? They've been working on it for years. There is a director attached. There is a screenplay. They've been pitching talent - especially for the role of Marshall - slowly and steadily. Last year they had to put things on hold a bit because the director, Alan Taylor, was busy with another little project... being one of the main directors of a little HBO series called A Game of Thrones... Oh, the irony. GRRM knicked my director! Hopefully, I can have him back for awhile, and he'll have some time in the coming year to give Gabriel some attention.

Don't recall what Gabriel's Story is? Well, it's my first novel, an historical set in the American West. Here's how Publishers Weekly described it in a starred review (I've cut a few spoilery bits out):

"The old West, both beautiful and brutal, is the setting of Durham's magnificently realized debut novel, a classic coming-of-age story of an African-American boy. Shortly after the Civil War, 15-year-old Gabriel Lynch, his mother and younger brother head out from Baltimore to meet Gabriel's new stepfather in Kansas, where the family hopes to make a fresh start as farmers. But Gabriel finds homesteading to be backbreaking and depressing and is soon lured away by cruel, charismatic Marshall Hogg, who's leading a group of cowboys down into Texas. It seems a dream come true for Gabriel, but then the nightmare begins... Durham is a born storyteller: each step of Gabriel's descent into hell proceeds from the natural logic of the narrative itself, which manages to be inevitable even as it's totally surprising. Equally impressive is Durham's gift for describing the awful beauty of the American West: "The April sky was not a thing of air and gas," writes Durham. "Rather it lay like a solid ceiling of slate, pressing the living down into the prairie." The tale's racial dimension is subtly and intelligently developed, and though some readers may be turned off by the violence Gabriel witnesses, all will be impressed by Durham's maturity, skill and lovingly crafted prose."

Sound like the makings of a film? I hope so. Patience, though. Patience...

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