If, when my time is up, I’m ever asked to look back and recall pivotal moments in my life, the key writing-related moment I’d cite involves PAN’S LABYRINTH. It was 2006, and I’d just published HATER independently through Infected Books. The release had gone pretty well, and I was happy with how the book had been received. Then, out of the blue, I received an email from a production company in Los Angeles, enquiring about the availability of the film rights. Within a couple of weeks I was speaking to Mark Johnson (who went on to produce BREAKING BAD) about his vision for a film version of HATER. He asked me if I’d seen PAN’S LABYRINTH. I told him I had, and that I thought it was incredible. He said that was a relief, because he was hoping to get Guillermo del Toro to direct HATER.
Of course, as is often the way, things didn’t work out as planned. Del Toro became involved in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of THE HOBBIT and switched roles to produce HATER, only for the project to stall at a later stage. Even now, more than a decade later, I still get goosebumps thinking about how close we came to a del Toro adaptation of one of my books. And I know this post will inevitably result in folks asking questions about the current position of the HATER movie, so I’ll give you my stock answer: I had a meeting with the producer a week or so ago and the project is still very much alive and kicking. The script is in great shape and we’re just waiting for the stars to align. I’ll share more news the very second I’m able to.
Back to PAN’S LABYRINTH. It’s an astonishing film which rightly deserved the critical acclaim it received on release. Now, many years later, del Toro and author Cornelia Funke have adapted the story into a novel and, thanks to the publisher, I was recently able to read a copy. When I heard about the book I was concerned, and I struggled to understand why the story needed to be retold. Having read it, though, I totally get it. Remind yourself of the beauty of the film then read on below for my thoughts.
It’s 1944 and the Allies have invaded Nazi-held Europe. In Spain, a troop of soldiers are sent to a remote forest to flush out the rebels. They are led by Capitan Vidal, a murdering sadist, and with him are his new wife Carmen and her daughter from a previous marriage, 11-year-old Ofelia. Ofelia witnesses her stepfather’s sadistic brutality and is drawn into Pan’s Labyrinth, a magical world of mythical beings.
It’s hard to believe, but it’s five years today since HATER was re-released by Thomas Dunne Books in the US and Gollancz here in the UK. It’s no exaggeration to say that little book changed my life. Before its release I’d been doing fairly well for myself publishing the first three AUTUMN books through Infected Books and I’d been planning to expand. I launched HATER with the intention of kick-starting a new series, but I had no idea what would happen next.
Within a couple of months, with less than a thousand copies having been sold, I was approached about the film rights. That deal went on to see Guillermo del Toro, J A Bayona (director of The Impossible and the forthcoming World War Z 2) and Mark Johnson (producer of Breaking Bad, amongst other things) involved with my book, and led to the HATER series being picked up for publication in many countries around the world.
So please join me in saying Happy Birthday HATER! If you haven’t read the book, visit wwwhttp://davidmoody.net/books/hater/ to find out more. And here, for old time’s sake, is a viral video released by Thomas Dunne to support the original release.
And no – I don’t have any news about the movie (I’ll update here if I do). But yes – one way or another I’m determined there WILL be a HATER film eventually!
Yes I know… I’ve gone quiet on you again. That’s largely because I’m trying to get three novels finished before the end of October (see my recent update here).
I realised that I hadn’t mentioned the campaign recently started by a few of Moody’s Survivors to give Hollywood a hint and see if we can’t get the HATER movie moving forward (there are positive signs, but a little push wouldn’t hurt…). There’s a Facebook page here which I’d love for you to like and share if you feel so inclined. So the position is this: the movie rights were recently re-optioned by Mark Johnson and Guillermo del Toroet al, and J A Bayona (who was previously attached to direct) has mentioned the project a couple of times in recent interviews in connection with his excellent movie, THE IMPOSSIBLE. With THE WALKING DEAD continuing to do great business and with the WORLD WAR Z movie taking everybody by surprise and being a huge hit this summer, a lot of you seem to think – and, of course, I completely agree – that the time is right for the HATER film.
Hopefully I’ll have some more concrete news for you in the very near future. In the meantime, I thought it would be good to run a competition to keep the project in the public eye. All you have to do is design a HATER-themed T-shirt to promote either the books, the film, or the campaign to get the movie made.
Either post your design on Facebook or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of October. By that time I’ll have employed a top-notch judging panel (I’m looking at you, Survivors!) who I’ll ask to pick a winner. As well as receiving a few signed books and other odds and ends, the winner will also have their design printed up and made available for sale via the Infected Bookstore.
Check out this article over at Shock Till You Drop who managed to grab a quick word with Mark Johnson, one of the producers of the HATER movie.
Can’t tell you how excited I am about this…
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of HATER, keep an eye on this site in the coming weeks for news of more editions of the book and the first word on DOG BLOOD, the second book in the series due for release in 2010.