I’m writing this from the skies above middle-America, on my way home from a trip to Los Angeles. I was in LA to meet with folks who want to make a film version of The Green Ember. <—True.
(Yay! Hurray! High-five! 🙂 Okay.)
I won’t get into a lot of detail now, but some veteran filmmakers with a passion for telling great stories contacted me about six months ago about the film rights. There had been some other enquiries, but this one had legs and these guys were doers, not just talkers. I’ve been in conversation with them ever since. (One of those early phone calls involved me trying to determine if this was a trick or not by asking questions that would reveal if they had actually read the book. I also displayed my brilliance in other equally stunning ways, I assure you.) I met them for the first time in person over the past few days and they are top notch people who I am delighted to be partnering with.
Yesterday, we had the great privilege of having a pitch meeting with executives at MGM, including Roma Downey. The meeting was great, and Roma particularly seemed to really resonate with the heart of the story. She gets it. Roma Downey is all the things you probably already know about her: warm, insightful, and just an all-around lovely person. But she is also clearly keen in business matters and a gifted executive. I got to share my story and, along with my (experienced, bright) teammates, I feel like we did a good job of communicating the project we’re eager to partner on. It was a special experience for me. Authors aren’t usually allowed near these meetings, so I felt privileged to be there and to be able to add my voice.
I don’t know where it goes from here. So many different things could happen! I hope, in the end, there’s a movie we’re all proud of that can extend the reach of this story of anticipating and working for a Mending to families all over the world–many of whom wouldn’t otherwise be reached. MGM would be a great partner for the film, but there are other possibilities. I personally would love to work with Roma and I think she would be ideal as an executive producer, producer, actor, or all of the above. (How great would she be as the voice of Maggie Weaver?! Roma’s not old enough, but Mrs. Weaver kind of reveals the heart of the story and Roma could definitely pull it off.)
There are lots of reasons why it may or may not work. Animated films are expensive to do well. And even if it goes forward, these things take a long time. We are past some significant hurdles, yes, but big ones remain. Imagine hurdles ahead. Now bigger ones. Good. Imagine me, sweatbands poised in every possible location, socks hiked to unthinkable heights, safety goggles snapped in place. Visualize this with your brainparts! I’m leaping at a high hurdle, snagging it with the toe of my white Reebok shoes that look like I stole them off a 70 year old nurse. I’m falling, mouth agape, landing now, bouncing off the red track like a dropped potato in the grocery story parking lot. Now laugh. Laugh harder! Okay, you can open your eyes again. Hurdles. Lots of them. Ahead. See it? Okay.
Hey, there’s a long way to go. This is definitely an underdog story. But you know who you should always bet on? Athletes who take steroids. But that’s another story. This is an underdog story and I love it.
Smarter people than me are working on the film stuff, and I’m jumping in there as needed. I plan to be very involved and, yes, I’m working with people who really love the book and want to make the movie as close as possible (with obvious need for trimming, etc.). I know you care about that and I do too. I’m excited about this, but meanwhile lots of other exciting things are due up soon.
Ember Falls (The Green Ember: Book II) is shipping soon. September 13! And you can preorder it on Amazon NOW! (It’s available in paperback and hard cover.) I have more stories to write, a family to love and provide for, and more. I’m in no danger of getting bored!
I want to thank those of you who have helped in various ways, whether it was providing advice, supportive info, hospitality, sharing encouragement, or offering prayers. And I want to ask all of you to be in prayer about this. This journey has been one long series of answered prayers. May that continue! Please pray that God is glorified in whatever results and that he would guide our team to good partnerships that help tell the best possible film version of The Green Ember. And maybe pray that I can somehow occasionally resist the urge to name-drop Roma Downey in every single conversation I have from now on.
Hey, this was an incredible trip for a boy from the West Virginia hills. With The Green Ember Series, it’s been an amazing journey all along the way, including (now) in Hollywood. I’m amazed at how the story has resonated with so many families. What an incredible honor for me to see this story I told my own kids be invited into so many lovely homes and young hearts.
I will happily update you with any significant news on the movie front. I will also give you a high-five if, when we cross paths, you raise your right hand and swing it at me in a friendly manner.
Thank you, friends and allies. God bless you!
Bear the flame,