I need to get something off my chest. Right, here goes… I once took literary inspiration from E L James, author of the unfeasibly popular Fifty Shades series. I don’t mean to offend fans of Fifty Shades with that comment, but you have to admit, those books are unfeasibly popular. Something like 150 million copies sold? That’s incredible.
So, on one hand, it’s hats off to Ms James, because she’s found a formula people clearly like and she’s sticking to it. You could argue that I’ve done exactly the same (though I do at least try to experiment – the book I’m currently writing is nothing like anything I’ve released previously). On the other hand, though, from what I understand of the books in the second Fifty Shades series, they’re pretty much a scene for scene rehashes of the first, just with the internal thoughts of an impressionable young student replaced with those of a complete fucking pervert.
And I’m claiming I was inspired by this series? Let me explain…
I’ve said before that the second HATER trilogy came as a result of discussions I’d had with Ed Barratt, producer of the upcoming HATER movie, about a potential TV adaptation. The original books were told exclusively from Danny McCoyne’s perspective, and whilst that worked well on paper, it would have been hard going on screen. A TV series would need to dive deeper and fill in the blanks, following different characters and situations to ramp up the drama and keep the viewers’ interest. And for a while I was struggling to work out how I would do that.
Here’s one which doesn’t need any recommendation from me, but I wanted to comment on it anyway. I first read Josh Malerman’sBIRD BOX several years ago. My friends at THIS IS HORROR sent me a copy of the chapbook they’d published by Malerman, THE HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF A LAKE, and I was really taken by it. Having been aware of the buzz surrounding BIRD BOX, and the fact it was being adapted for film, I picked a copy up and was seriously impressed. Fast-forward a few years, and the Netflix movie adaptation of BIRD BOX is proving to be incredibly successful.
Unless you’ve been living in a house with the windows covered and have been blindfolded every time you’ve dared step outside your front door, you probably know what it’s about by now. If not, here’s a synopsis and the movie trailer:
Five years after an ominous unseen presence drives most of society to suicide, a mother and her two children make a desperate bid to reach safety.
I’ve told you a lot about it, but I don’t think I’ve properly explained why I’ve been writing a second HATER trilogy. Is it a cynical cash in? A cheap way to drum up interest in my books again after a quiet couple of years? The answer to both those questions is a very definite ‘no’.
The new trilogy has its roots in some of the many movie-related discussions I’ve had about the books over the years. On numerous occasions, producer Ed Barratt and I have talked about TV adaptations (and we came tantalisingly close to getting that off the ground at the turn of this year but, as is so often the way, our plans unravelled at the last moment). Ed and I discussed the issues we’d face trying to translate HATER, DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US to the small screen. Part of the attraction of the books is the fact they focus exclusively on one man’s story, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised that this relatively narrow approach might present problems from a theatrical point of view.
One of the recurring themes of the series is ‘who is the bad guy?’. When the outbreak (or whatever it is) begins in HATER, the natural assumption is that the Haters are the villains. But, for various reasons, we later start to question that assumption, particularly when the extent of the actions taken by the Unchanged to keep themselves safe is revealed. It’s clear that both sides are capable of doing whatever they have to do to survive, and this comes to a head at the end of DOG BLOOD. I’ll be vague in case you’ve not yet read the books (come on, keep up!), but a pretty unspeakable act is carried out by someone. It’s particularly shocking, because that act has huge ramifications for both sides and every surviving individual, Hater and Unchanged alike.
So that got me thinking, are the Unchanged as innocent as I initially thought? Are the Haters as evil and ferocious as they appear? Do the lines ever blur? Are there weaker Haters and stronger Unchanged? How clear is the distinction between the two?
Several years ago I got talking to Keith Lynch, one half of directing duo The Brothers Lynch, about HATER. Back in 2014, Keith introduced me to Ed Barratt. As you may know, Ed’s producing the HATER movie, and he also produced TRIAL a cracking sci-fi short written and directed by the aforementioned Brothers Lynch. It’s brilliant. Watch it here:
Right… I think that announcement is long overdue. The all-important press release follows. There will be opportunity to ask me questions in the coming weeks, and there will be ANOTHER HATER-related announcement next week. For now, here are the facts:
Hook Pictures producer Ed Barratt and David Moody announce a deal to bring Moody’s classic novel of violence and paranoia – HATER – to the screen.
David Moody independently released HATER onto an unsuspecting world in 2006, and within a couple of short months the movie rights had been snapped up by Hollywood. The production was fast-tracked and attracted some big names. Then, as is frequently the way, the project stalled.
Moody and his fans were left in limbo.
The novel went on to be republished by St Martins Press in the US, Gollancz in the UK, Goldmann in Germany and by numerous other publishers around the world. Two well-received sequels – DOG BLOOD and THEM OR US – followed.
But still no movie.
Enter Ed Barratt and Hook Pictures. Ed said “From the first page of the series I could see the potential for Hater to be adapted into a defining piece of British cinema; that I’m now working with David towards that end is almost as big a thrill as the books themselves”.
Ed and David are thrilled to announce that the development of the HATER movie is now underway from a script by Moody.
“I’m delighted to be working with Ed on this project,” said Moody. “The buzz of having Hollywood interest in my work never really wore off, despite the film not reaching the screen, but there was always a part of me that regretted selling such a small-scale, gritty and uniquely British story to a huge production company. I met with Ed and was immediately impressed by his enthusiasm for the books, and it quickly became apparent that we share a common vision with regard to how this story should be told on screen. When the opportunity to take back the rights and work with Ed arose, I took it without hesitation.
“The central theme of HATER is, I think, more prescient than ever. It deals with some major sociological issues in a unique and confrontational way and I’m confident we’ll create a wildly original movie the likes of which hasn’t been seen before. HATER is a collision between the normality of day-to-day life in the UK today and a full-on apocalyptic nightmare.”
HATER is currently in development for a late 2016 shoot.
And I’d like to introduce you to Ed: Hook Pictures was founded in 2012 as a vehicle for creative producer Ed Barratt to continue to work with fresh and ambitious writing and directing talent to create critically and commercially successful feature films.
Hook Pictures’ debut feature film was Rowan Athale’s The Rise (aka Wasteland) – completed in 2012 – which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival before screening at London, Rotterdam and Santa Barbara Film Festivals whilst selling to distributors around the world and being nominated for several awards. Ed Barratt was recognised by BAFTA as a Breakthrough Brit for his work on the film.
Hook Pictures has a strong slate of projects in development and relationships with some of the UK’s most exciting new writing and directing talent. Three films are slated to enter production in 2015/16 and the company is venturing into new and original IP by launching comic book publisher Ninth Man in association with leading graphic novel publisher SelfMadeHero.