S.G. Browne

O is for Oscar

No, there are no characters in Breathers named Oscar.  And this isn’t about Oscar Wilde or Oscar the Grouch, though I am fond of both of them.  This is about a little bald, gold statue and how the film rights for Breathers got optioned.

Back in February of 2008, not long after I’d garnered a publishing contract with Random House, my agent, Michelle Brower, let me know that Sarah Self of the Gersh Agency was interested in representing the film rights for Breathers.  As it turned out, Sarah was the agent (and still is) for Diablo Cody, who at the time was nominated for an Academy Award for her original screenplay Juno.

After the Academy Awards, my film agent sent a copy of Breathers to both Diablo and to Mason Novick, the producer of Juno.  She thought Breathers would be a perfect fit for them, or vice versa.  Either way, they were both interested and signed on to co-produce.

Due to existing projects (Jennifer’s Body, 500 Days of Summer, The United States of Tara), and several other factors that affected Hollywood, things didn’t really start rolling on finding a studio home for Breathers until early 2009.  That’s when Geoff LaTulippe was attached to write the film adaptation of Breathers.  Geoff had sold his first screenplay, “Going the Distance,” to New Line and came on board in January.  I read the screenplay and loved it, found myself laughing out loud, and was (and am) excited to see what he comes up with.

A month later, in February, my film agent called to let me know that there was an offer on the table from Fox Searchlight Pictures, the makers of Juno, Jennifer’s Body, 500 Days of Summer, Little Miss Sunshine, and Slumdog Millionaire.  The first announcement of the deal appeared in the Daily Variety on Monday, February 23.

While the screenplay still has to be written and actors and a crew attached, it’s possible the film will go into production in 2010, with a release date of 2011.  But no firm date has been set at this point.

When you start writing, you always dream of having your book published and made into a movie.  But to actually have your dreams come true is a bit surreal.  I spent a lot of time the first few days after the deal was announced laughing out loud, often in front of strangers who I passed on the street, most of whom tended to give me a little extra room.

The thing is, I’ve always been a fan of 20th Century Fox (the parent of Fox Searchlight), ever since I saw Star Wars back in 1977 and I always wanted their logo to announce the start of my film.  I still get goosebumps listening to the theme music, which I have on my iTunes:


Finally, on Page 74 of Breathers, there’s a bit of a bizarre, cosmic foreshadowing that takes place.  Andy is talking about how difficult it is for zombies to escape their Hollywood archetype of the mindless, flesh-eating ghouls and change their public image:

“Then again, it’s kind of hard to hire a good publicist when you don’t have a budget to rival Twentieth Century Fox or Random House.”

(I wrote this more than two years before the book was sold to Random House and three years before the movie deal with Fox.  No editing occurred.)

Filed under: Breathers,The Writing Life — Tags: , , , — S.G. Browne @ 7:54 am