It was recently reported that JK Rowling is nearing the end of her Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay. The movie will kick start a trilogy that is a spin-off from Potter but not involving the character whatsoever, or any others for that matter. In the same world but not the same people kind of deal.
But JK Rowling actually never wrote any of the screenplays for the much-loved Potter movies. Sure she oversaw them to make sure they didn’t give Dumbledore a wife for no reason or something, but generally it was out of her hands.
So will she make a good screenwriter? Many novelists have tackled Hollywood before with varying results. Here’s a look at a few.
Gillian Flynn: Gone Girl
The success of Gone Girl (read the review here) cannot be understated, and therefore Gillian’s job adapting her own bestselling book has been a good one, right? Not necesarily. Those who have seen the film may agree that she clearly struggled to break away from the structure of her novel to optimise it for film. It all seems a bit…chaptery…
However the story itself is so good this could hardly have turned out a failure.
Nick Hornby: An Education, A Long Way Down
It’s safe to say Nick Hornby is a more celebrated novelist than screenwriter. An Education was a middling slushy drama that launched Carey Mulligan’s career but not exactly his own in Hollywood.
He followed it up with A Long Way Down, a painfully average, unfunny and sentimental tale of no-hopers making a pact to make a change in their lives. They do this by going on holiday and stuff. *Vomit*. Watch yourself, JK.
Michael Chabon: Spiderman 2, John Carter
A similar story to Nick Hornby but with more extremes. Spiderman 2 was well received and remains probably the best web-slinger outing since Sam Raimi rebooted it way back when DVD wasn’t even a thing yet.
But then there was John Carter. A confused catastrophe of a film that did next to no business, or pleasure for that matter. You may say ‘but he co-wrote John Carter!’. Well he co-wrote Spidey, too. So shh.
Verdict for JK Rowling? Tread carefully. Hollywood is a dog-eat-dog world. One failure and your respect-o-meter could start trickling down…