Saturday, December 11, 2010
Once we'd signed on the dotted line, we realized the full horror of what we’d undertaken. GREEN DARKNESS is a period piece. Everyone “in the know” will tell you that period pieces don’t sell, despite the fact that every year period films are nominated for Academy Awards. In fact, three-quarters of GREEN DARKNESS takes place in the past. The past is what gives it its unique flavor and texture. Fans of the book always remark on how well it evokes the Tudor era and draws you right in. Recreating the past means $$$. Big budgets go hand-in-hand with big name talent.
After some conflab, we decided that our first hurdle would be to minimize the use of the past without compromising the story. Since the “present” of the book is 1968, that’s already the near distant past and costs money to recreate, so we’re modernizing the “present”. We’re going to try to ensure that it carries the flavor of the original. But in 42 years a lot has changed.
Really, the book could even become a mini-series, along the lines of THE TUDORS, since it flashes back to the era immediately after King Henry VIII's death and deals with the turbulent years of his succession. Religious upheaval, death and destruction, witchcraft, stake burnings are all part of this story--what fun!! It's a screenwriter's dream! But a mini-series is not what conventional wisdom recommends for two relative unknown writers. We’ll stick with a feature-length script -- at least for now…
As we mentioned in our past blog, screenplays average about 20,000 words. I’m guessing that GREEN DARKNESS is close to double the average 250,000 word count for a novel. All we have to do is condense 591 novel pages into 110 – 120 (max) screenplay pages. If you’re familiar with scripts you will quickly realize the extent of this challenge.
Have you read the book? Do you have a favorite part that you’d hate to see left out?