Over the last six months, CBS Films has been hard at work, snapping up young adult novels that show strong potential for film. The new film division within CBS Corporation is on track to release four to six movies a year spanning all genres, but they seem to be paying especially close attention to what’s coming to your bookstore’s young adult section.
And that’s great news for three very fortunate YA debut authors.
In February, the studio announced plans to bring Marie Lu’s upcoming LEGEND to film. LEGEND takes place in a dark future, when the United States has split into two warring nations. It tells the story of a famous 15-year old boy criminal and the 15-year old girl prodigy hired to hunt him down. When their paths cross, the truth they uncover together will become legend.
Doesn’t that sound fantastic? I can’t wait to read this book! But like everyone else, I’ll have to wait until Penguin releases it on November 29, 2011 (but yes, I’ve already pre-ordered it on my Kindle!).
Then in March, CBS Films bought the motion picture rights to my fellow Apolcalypsies partner, Lenore Appelhans’ much-anticipated LEVEL 2. LEVEL 2 is a speculative young adult novel about a place that exists between our world (Level 1) and what comes after life (Level 2). Seventeen-year-old Felicia Ward spends her days uploading her favorite memories and reliving them from the security of her pod—until she gets broken out by Julian, a boy she knew when she was still alive. Unsure whether she can trust Julian, and still in love with her boyfriend Neil on Earth, she finds herself torn between two loves—and two worlds.
Again… why can’t this book be available, like, tomorrow? Sadly, we’ll all have to wait until Simon & Schuster releases it in Fall 2012.
And then there was the recent event involving a little book that’s near and dear to my heart. CBS Films blew my mind by adding me to this incredibly impressive company of authors when it acquired motion picture rights to my story, TIME BETWEEN US.
When my film agent, Michelle Weiner of CAA, started sending my story around, I truly didn’t expect much. But in a matter of days, she was filling my inbox with feedback from an impressive list of producers, directors and screenwriters who were reading my story. And liking it. Some, liking it a lot! That, I never expected.
But here’s what really got me. Universally, I heard this: “This book reads like a movie”.
And if that’s the case, I achieved my goal. From the moment I started writing this novel, this story ran through my head like a movie. I used a screenwriting outline as the foundation to be sure the pacing stayed tight and I kept raising the stakes. I worked hard to create characters that readers would “see” and connect with—characters that would get stuck in their heads. But mostly, I wanted to write a book that kids would find entertaining and fun to read. Because that’s why I read books. And that’s why I go to the movies. To be entertained. To get lost in another world for a little while.
I don’t know if I’ve achieved all of the above—when the book comes out, all of you will have to let me know—but those were my goals from the start. And having the movie-makers tell me I achieved it was… welll… pretty damn fun.
I’m so excited about this news. And I somehow landed with the two most perfect partners to bring TIME BETWEEN US to the big screen.
In addition to LEGEND and LEVEL 2, CBS Films’ recent projects like Beastly and the upcoming Daniel Radcliffe flick, The Woman in Black (have you seen the trailer? Watch it!), demonstrate its commitment to creating movies that bring teens into the theater. I’m thrilled to be associated with a studio that understands how to reach the audience I care most about.
And I couldn’t be in better hands with the newly formed, RCR Pictures. From the very beginning, CEO and Producer, Robin Schorr has been a tireless champion for this project. With a clear passion for literature, she is experienced—and especially gifted—at bringing the novels she loves to film, including:
- Peaceful Warrior, based on the best-selling novel by Dan Millman
- Under Heaven (based on the Henry James’ novel, The Wings of the Dove), a drama Schorr produced independently, which was in competition at the Sundance Film Festival and garnered an Independent Spirit Award
- The upcoming, Nevada Smith (a remake of the Steve McQueen western), based on the best-selling novel by Harold Robbins
- A soon-to-be-announced series in development at CW, based on another best-selling book
In addition to her book-to-film experience, Schorr has been a senior executive and producer at companies that have made some remarkable films, including:
- Brokeback Mountain, based on the best-selling novel by Annie Proulx, which won multiple Oscars
- M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense, which earned six Oscar nominations and took in over $290 million at the box office
- Cameron Crowe’s Jerry Maguire, which was nominated for five Academy Awards and earned an Oscar win for Cuba Gooding, Jr.
- Into the Wild, based on the best-selling novel by Jon Krakauer
- Food, Inc., which was nominated for the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary and the Spirit Award, and won the coveted Gotham Award
And get this… Schorr was the one who discovered the script for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, written by a then-unknown writer named Joss Whedon. I love that tidbit. And if that’s not enough, she started her career as a DJ in the Bay Area, which makes her especially cool in my book. From the moment I heard about Robin Schorr’s interest in my story, I had a feeling she was the right producer for this film.
TIME BETWEEN US is in such capable hands with this talented combination—a studio that’s gunning for the young adult market and a producer who’s passionate about turning up-and-coming novels into remarkable films. I’m confident this team is going to make a beautiful, brilliant movie.
And I’m so honored to share the company of Lu and Appelhans, two authors I’m excited to watch over the next few years. I can’t wait to see who will join us under the CBS Films banner next!