Posted at 4:30 PM on January 30, 2007
by Euan Kerr
You hear some pretty amazing stories in this business. Today author Steven Hall dropped by to tell his.
You probably haven't heard of him.
He's a big lad from just outside Manchester in England who has written a freakily entertaining novel called "The Raw Shark Texts." It's not published until April 2nd, but he's already on the publicity circuit.
Hall says he tries not to talk about the book's plot too much, because it's really open to an individual reader's interpretation. Let's just say it's about a man who wakes up one day not knowing who or where he is. Soon after that he finds out he's being pursued by a virtual shark which lives in the thought streams of the collective human consciousness.
It's more than a little out there, but Hall pulls it off. The book struck a chord with publishers all over the world, because it's being translated into no fewer than 25 languages.
So why should this matter to movie fans? Well, for a couple of reasons.
First of all, there is the section between pages 328 and 373 where the text morphs into the shape of a shark, and converts the novel into a flip-book briefly. Hall says it took him a month working on his computer to get it right.
Second of all there was the feeding frenzy over the film rights for the book. "Everything went insane for a week," Hall says. "I think everyone was surprised, which was nice, not just me."
Then came the message that Nicole Kidman wanted to talk to him about the book. He was at home near Manchester with his girlfriend.
"Sure enough at the appointed time the telephone rings," Hall says. "And I look at my girlfriend, and she looks at me and says 'Well, you best go and speak to Nicole Kidman.' Perhaps the most surreal moment of my life. But she was really lovely and she was really complimentary about the book, and she said 'You know I really enjoyed it.' I think she actually read it herself and took it round some studios saying 'Will you buy this or me?' which is wonderful."
Someone suggested that Eric, the central character in "The Raw Shark Texts," become Erica so Kidman could play the lead, but Hall politely declined, saying it would change the dynamics of the lead characters, and basically make them unlikable.
He's a brave man.
You can hear a short clip from the interview here, but the full interview will run closer to the publication date in early April.
Brave man indeed. What a scoop, Euan!
This is fascinating. The weird relationship of books and film rights is... just that, weird. It seems a like a delicate, diplomatic mess at best.