MBT on film and matters autobiographical

Zee Oddwyn was asking:

"Speaking of which, any chance there might be a Half-continent movie? In general, it seems that movies dealing with monsters or fae creatures have been very popular recently."

Indeed they have, which is great on one level yet I cannot help be a little concerned of such a trend in regards to my own work. If ever a film was to be made of MBT I would hope it is not a "Yarrgghh! Monsters!" kind of film that focuses more on effects and beasties and less on character and the solidity and believability of the setting.

A good example of this bad approach (at least, perhaps, on an advertising level) was the film of The Bridge to Terabithia - very much sold as a fantasy movie with wingy-do special effects. Yet, having not read the book (shame on me!) what do I discover - to my initial disappointment - that it is more about relationships and the human condition and the durability of the soul. Indeed, the fantastical world I was so looking forward to it being about was just a device to show the growth of friendship and individual spirit. All excellent stuff, now that I have got over my dismay, a brilliant story - I need to read the book.

Now admittedly, MBT is about monsters more directly and is actually a "secondary world" without reference to our own but that is the thing: my hope would be that a film-maker would recognise that at the heart of MBT and any other novels I might get to write (Lord willing) about the Half-Continent is in fact the Half-Continent itself, the most enduring 'character' throughout. That subtlety might be required not "Rargh! I'm a cool special effects monster!!!"

And, Master Oddwyn, in actual answer to your question, the Jim Henson Company currently has the option to make MBT into films: 2 movies from the 3 currently planned books - I think they feel there is not enough in Book 1 to warrant one entire film. Yet the big hold up currently is the Writer's Strike and I must say that I did not think I would somehow be connected with something so, well, international, so show-biz, that I would have a personal response to jokes made about it on the Letterman show... very bizarre.

So the chance of a film are still variable, for an option on a book means simply a company has the exclusive right and the occasion to make a film from it. Whether something is actually produced is impacted by many factors not the least of which is money and such things as an actual script - hence the hold up with the strike. Watch this space.

I do believe I still need to answer Lawrence's question about the auto-biographical nature of MBT. This hits me right in the "ooh-I-like-talking-about-myself" zone, so I shall try to be brief. In fact the simple answer is: yes, it is.

A little too simple, though.

I know it is autobiographical because I have used my own sensations had in various dilemmas, to get a handle on how Rossamünd might feel and react - not intentionally to in some strange way to write my life story, but because it is what I know. In some sense too Book 1 is a kind of version of my own journey out from Adelaide to Sydney to take hold of the life of a freelance illustrator. To get deeper still it might be said it is also an exploration of my own naïve and nascent attempts to write my first book - but folks can go too far with that kind of deconstruction, and it misses the point of the work along with it.

I am told it is autobiographical by those who know me well, who say that can sense me in Rossamünd; who say they fell like they are spending time with me when they read the book(s). This I cannot account for except that it must be a result of the above - but to say Rossamünd is me would be an over-simplification and a mistake. Another book I hope to write some day will, Lord-willing, involve two characters who will both no doubt express facets of myself, maybe a more grown-up me, for they are both adults where Rosey-me-lad is just a boy.

Hmmm, Freudians might have a field day here...

Finally, it is time to celebrate the first character profile writ large - at last! Check it out in the column to the right, one of many answers to these questions, and the first in what I hope to be many public showings. Please enjoy.
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