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“The reader is left gasping.”

I got to read the article in The Eye that Bryan Lee O’Malley alluded to earlier when it went live today. I have a long-running skepticism toward interviews where illustrative quotes are pulled out of the ether, so I’m curious about where this mention of a movie really came from. Did Guy Leshinski say, “So, is this something you’d like to see play as a movie?” to get O’Malley to admit that “[t]he holy grail for cartoonists is the movie deal” or what?

I ask even though I have no right to ask, because it caused a crisis of conscience. I enjoyed Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life so much that I’m not even going to link to all the places where I talked about it because I know all my readers know this already. And because I talked about it so much, because I was an “early adopter,” Bryan Lee O’Malley contacted me and we ended up doing an interview in which I didn’t ask about movie options. That’s because I’m afraid I’m becoming some sort of hipster geek. My immediate response to the section of this profile asking about movie options was, “NO!!! Hollywood could never handle this right!!” That’s kind of goofy, since a Scott Pilgrim movie wouldn’t even have to be a Hollywood movie, but I’m just being honest here. While I think the book deserves success and a wider audience (and the money/security audience brings its creator) something makes me want to think that this book is pure, that it’s not just another attempt at a movie deal. And those aren’t mutually exclusive; it could be a perfectly good comic (and certainly is) and also make a fine movie, but I’m so taken by the way it works as sequential art that I wouldn’t want to read a Scott Pilgrim novel (and I’m lying a bit; I’d read it for sure) or hear what hot young actresses Wizard thinks would be even hotter as Kim or Ramona or Knives (and here I tell the truth). I want to just let things be themselves. But the flipside hipstery side of this is that I have to be sure I’m not saying this because I don’t want to be a person being neurotic that my favorite indie band is about to make it big and then I won’t be special anymore. I don’t think that’s what’s going on, but I just as strongly hope that there isn’t going to be a movie made and I can keep these comics comics. After all, I’m glad that there’s more publicity and the next volume in less than a month. I just want to spread the love, but seriously, there have to be lines!

And to prove I’m even more of a neurotic geek, although I don’t know how much hipsterism ties in here, I’m not asking for Mal to show up in the comments and set me straight about what happened, because I’m conflicted enough about knowing not all comics creators I write about live in a magical blog-free realm where nothing I say has any meaning. I just thought a good confession might make me feel better about this. And while I’m on this cleansing topic, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell doesn’t need a sequel. The end. (or is it?)


  1. David says:

    “And while I????????m on this cleansing topic, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell doesn????????t need a sequel. The end.”

    I agree, and I find the prospect of a series unusually distressing. It’s not that I don’t see the seeds for sequels in the book, but at the same time, it seems to defy what the book was about for me. There was such a specificity to the world created and such an involving and detailed exploration of it that world (in part through the faux-scholarly construction) that a sequel seems almost… I don’t know, crass, or something. It takes the “captured era” feel of the book and undermines it in an odd way.

    This will make my partner happy, though. We enjoyed the book equally, but he immediately assumed it was the launching point for a series, and I thought it was intended to stand alone.

    — 28 January 2005 at 1:50 pm (Permalink)

  2. Rose says:

    Apparently what’s going to happen is another story set in that world, not necessarily a where-are-they-now issue, but it honestly had not occurred to me on closing the last page that there could be a sequel. It felt like the story was closed, even though it’s a fairly open ending for basically all the characters. I’m still not sure why I feel so strongly about this, but it certainly seems that I do.

    Although to be fair to Jonathan Strange and movie adaptations and any number of other things I claim I won’t like, I often make claims like that and they defninitely are sometimes wrong. I didn’t even want to read Seaguy and it ended up one of my favorite comics of the year. I practically had to be dragged to The Incredibles for no good reason and enjoyed it a lot. So I think I’m probably just a whiny hater more than someone with clear, consistent opinions.

    — 28 January 2005 at 3:08 pm (Permalink)

  3. Bryan Lee O'Malley says:

    Well, he brought together a lot of disparate general statements and sort of massaged them into clever-sounding quotes. I mean, I think he was asking about how much money I made, and I probably did say something about a movie deal being the holy grail for a cartoonist, but this is in a financial sense. I mean, there is just no other way for someone in my position to become solidly established financially.

    Mentioning the “Shaun of the Dead” guy was completely unrelated — I was probably talking about feedback, criticism, etcetera, and mentioned that I’d been told he’d read the book and liked it, in terms of validation.

    That said: there are movie rumblings. It’s pure chance, the divine whimsy of Hollywood, and I’m sure you know I never wrote towards that, and I continue to write completely divorced from the idea of this possible movie process, but it does exist and I’m not resistant to it.

    — 28 January 2005 at 3:16 pm (Permalink)

  4. Rose says:

    I know it makes sense from a financial perspective, and the way quotes got stitched together makes sense too. I think my real point was that if there’s a bad Scott Pilgrim movie someday, I’ll be awfully stompy.

    But I would be perfectly happy with it being optioned for a movie (and the money that brings) and then made into something good or just dropped entirely eventually, as often happens.

    And other readers are clearly excited about the possibility. My reaction is just general me being grumpy and not trusting anything I don’t control myself. If I ran the world, among other things I would allow a good Scott Pilgrim movie and would make sure comics creators got better pay. (and a pony, I know!)

    — 28 January 2005 at 3:31 pm (Permalink)

  5. Ian Brill says:

    Funny, I’ve been thinking about movie adaptations lately, too. Mainly, how a good movie adaptation can expose more people to a story but a bad movie can kill sales for a book.

    This is something I was talking to Dorian and Mike at the store the other day where Dorian said a bad movie adaptation makes their job just a bit harder in terms of selling books. I feel it’s unfair that a store and publisher have to depend on what a bunch of filmmakers are doing in Hollywood for a good chunk of business. It’s great if a cartoonist like O’Malley can get a big payday and that’s regardless of if the film is a dud or not. Still, a film is more likely to be bad than good and either way the film version will always be better known than the book. A movie deal is a big risk and I’m wondering if it’s one that cartoonists and publishers should be eager to make.

    — 29 January 2005 at 2:22 am (Permalink)

  6. David Fiore says:

    yes–look at what that eighties movie did to Supergirl! DC actually killed the poor woman in retaliation/exasperation…


    — 30 January 2005 at 4:43 am (Permalink)