When My Novels Finally Hit Hollywood
By Jeff Salter
No, it has not happened yet. But I’ve had several people tell me “ABCD novel would make a great movie.” I totally agree. Fact is, I can imagine any / all of my novels or novellas on-screen. But the 4F1H task this week is to select ONE book to be turned into a movie and decide upon an ideal cast or director. Wow.
Folks, this is almost as difficult as deciding which color of M&M Peanuts is your favorite. Do I really like the red ones better, or is my eye simply attracted to the brighter color? Do I really like the brown ones less, or do they simply “hide” effectively beneath their green, blue, yellow, and orange colleagues?
Here’s what I’m saying: while I think my comedies – especially my two screwball comedies in the series, Amanda Moore or Less – might be best suited for adaptation to superb cinematic entertainment, one of my other novels may be more IMPORTANT.
Called to Arms Again is my tribute to the Greatest Generation. These are the folks who raised me, taught me, hired me, trained me, and showed me (by example) how to cope with disappointments, challenges, and sacrifices. Unfortunately these folks are also leaving us, steadily and rapidly, and the few who remain are typically in their nineties by now.
And that’s why C2AA is my most “important” story. It’s important for these few remaining members of the greatest generation to see how much they (and their contributions) are still valued. They struggled for survival through the Great Depression and sacrificed – both in uniform and on the home front – to help save the free world during World War II. My novel honors them with a fictional plot featuring humor, action, and loving relationships among characters of three generations.
It’s also important in the sense of “teaching” the current generation about how much their forebearers endured, how they prevailed, and why they were willing to struggle for our future.
Grit doesn’t fade away — it just becomes crusty. Kelly discovers first-hand that this assembly of geriatrics is no push-over when a gang of thieves targets a retirement subdivision, expecting an easy score. But the Greatest Generation had conquered worse enemies than these punks… they still can and will fight back.
“Called To Arms Again.” Novel, only $2.99 in digital formats; paperback also available (varied prices). Clean Reads, 2013. Set in Somerset KY, it’s the exciting sequel to “Hid Wounded Reb.”
This is especially tough because, as I mentioned earlier this week, I don’t have all that much awareness of who directed which films. For this one, I guess I’d want to go back two generations and resurrect Frank Capra to direct 90 % of the story.
For a list of Capra’s most prominent films, look here:
If Capra was not “lively” enough to take the job, I’d probably offer the primary directing to Ron Howard or Penny Marshall or Rob Reiner.
For my story’s main barricade “battle scene”, however, I might ask some more current – and living – director… but she or he would also have to have a good eye for comedy. Hmm. Maybe Lawrence Kasdan is available.
No other particular action director comes to mind, so I’d welcome suggestions.
Two of these are easy because while I wrote C2AA (back in 2007), I pictured my heroine Kelly as a young Diane Lane… and my hero Mitch as a young Harrison Ford.
A key supporting character (Pete Henley) was modeled off a Somerset gentleman, C.E. “Gene” Hansford… who (to me) somewhat resembles Andy Griffith from his Matlock days. For the other key roles – like Pop Walter, Ellie Graye, Diane Sutton, Irene Henley, Roger Jenkins, and (of course) Wade – I’d have to shop around Hollywood, I guess. If they hurry and make this film, I could likely play Joe Sutton, since he was modeled after ME.
Question: who would be YOUR favorite director to bring screen life to my tribute to the greatest generation?
[JLS # 278]