We’re so pleased to welcome author Charlie Cochrane to day to celebrate the release of a new novella in the Cambridge Fellows Mystery series, Lessons in Cracking the Deadly Code. Charlie is here to chat a bit about adaptations and the casting game, so read on and enjoy!
I remember when we watched “Saving Mr. Banks”. Very interesting and thought provoking film. Mr. Cochrane, being a devoted father of three girls, was deeply moved by the family flashbacks, but it’s the scenes with P L Travers at the Disney studios that I can’t get out of my mind. What would I have done in her position, if I’d been asked to give permission for wholesale changes to be made with my story which I simply didn’t want to be made? What would my fellow authors do? This dilemma resurfaced recently when the BBC adapted Agatha Christie’s Ordeal by Innocence and they gave the story a different ending. The estate had given permission for the change – after much thought – but many of us fans were furious. Why tamper with brilliance?
Now, I’m a pragmatic soul. If I get asked, “What cover do you want, Charlie?” my default reply is, “One that sells, please.” Yet sometimes pragmatism had to give way to integrity. What if somebody came along and wanted to turn the Cambridge Fellows books into a film or TV series? “Great,” I’d say. “Bring it on.” But what if they then stipulated that they’d have to make changes which I’d find unacceptable? For example, if they wanted to set the action in a Cambridge as false as the London of the Mary Poppins film? (No, Mr. Disney, that was not a British species of robin feathering its nest.) Even worse, what if they wanted to change the tone of the stories? To introduce some heterosexual love interest for one or both of the main characters?
See? It’s an author’s nightmare. I’ve even broached the subject while doing a Q&A session, putting the awkward question about just how much money it would take to sacrifice some key part of a book for an adaptation – for example having the two leading men portrayed as straight instead of gay. What would be an author’s price for such a compromise, or is that beyond price?
Or – an equally terrifying prospect – what if the production company wanted to have somebody play Jonty or Orlando who had the equivalent of Dick Van Dyke’s desperate cockney accent? I guess we’ve all played the “what if I was casting this” game, thinking about who we’d have playing our favourite characters in a film. Maybe we’ve used the mental images of those people when we’ve written our books or the actual images when we’ve been filling in our cover art requests. But if this pipe dream really did become reality, we’d probably have very little say in much of the production side of stuff. Ultimately, the only sanction we’d have is not to sell the performance rights (I hope you’ve checked your contracts to ensure you haven’t signed them away), although if we were put under the sort of pressure that the Disney corporation seem to have exerted on P L Travers, we’d have to be damn strong to resist.
About the Book
St Bride’s College is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of reviving the traditional celebration of the saint’s day. When events get marred by murder it’s natural that Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith will get called in to help the police with their inside knowledge. But why has somebody been crawling about on the chapel roof and who’s obsessed with searching in the library out of hours?
[zilla_button url=”http://authl.it/B07JM5Q3J6?d” style=”orange” size=”large” type=”round” target=”_blank”] Available at Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited [/zilla_button]
About the Author
As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.
Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.