The Long Table
Where Women Come To Write
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ADAPTATIONS & SCREENPLAYS
My first screenplay and one that is very close to my heart! I had been inspired by Emma Thompson who won as Oscar for her adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, and decided that I would option a book to write something for myself to act in. It wasn't my intention to segue into a writing career, but as the screenplay went out to get talent attached, I began to get offers from literary agents. It turned out that I had a knack for turning something literary into something cinematic! Thus began a very fruitful and unexpected career doing book adaptations for Hollywood.
A very high profile book, and my first studio contract. This, my second screenplay, is the one that launched my career as a writer. A controversial subject matter and a female protagonist made this a difficult one to produce. Every young A-List movie star has been attached to play this amazing role at one time or another!
I began to get a lot of attention after EXPOSURE, and got a call from Working Title in London. They had a Jane Smiley book that Emma Thompson had been adapting, but she'd pulled out of the project. Would I be interested? So less than 2 years after Emma Thompson gave me the courage to write a script as a vehicle for myself, here I was replacing her on a Jane Smiley book, one of my favorite writers! I owe a lot to Ms. Thompson, whom I've never met. I don't know that I would've become a writer if I hadn't been inspired by her success.
This one was a heartbreaker. After a quick maternity leave, I did a rather unorthodox adaptation of this acclaimed Australian novel for Fox Searchlight. It got greenlit very quickly with Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman cast in the lead roles. Three days before principal photography the studio pulled the plug. The director had done a rewrite that no one was happy with and they weren't able to come to terms and salvage the filming. It was never resurrected.
Another Fox Searchlight project. Obviously a classic, and some very high profile writers had taken a stab at it. My pitch consisted of the following: "I don't have a clue how to do this, I have no idea how to make this cinematic and I'm mystified why you would want to remake it..." Their reaction? "When can you start?"
A tough nut to crack, to say nothing of a huge responsibility, as it was near the top of nearly all of the 'Most important Books in English Literature' lists. No pressure. At the end I was very proud of this script, and happy that I'd taken on the challenge.
This was a page one rewrite job for Universal, an updated version of yet another classic. It was now set in the upper East side world of privileged high schoolers, titled REVENGE. The story actually lent itself very well to the new setting and characters, now with a female lead.
An award winning novel from 1955 originally adapted for Alfred Hitchcock. I updated it for producer Glenn Williamson first to present day Philadelphia, and in a subsequent draft set it in London. A film noir-ish thriller, and lots of fun to write. Another female lead!
New Title: IMMORTAL.
Originally a French film which HBO Films hired me to re-imagine for an American audience; again with Coline Serreau at the helm. This required a lot of research in the Muslim community in Michigan, where the producer and I would wear hajib to gain access to mosques and Imams. An amazing experience, and definitely a job that took me far from my comfort zone.
My first screenplay that was not adapted from a book, but from an original script by Scott Fifer. For Mirimax, with Wes Craven directing. A heartbreaking coming of age story, the film sadly got put into turn around after Mr. Craven's death. One of my favorites.