It certainly wasn’t a surprise when, after ‘Harry Potter’ gained success, tons of stories about wizards and witchcraft began cropping up. A few years later, it still wasn’t a surprise that young adult shelves became packed with misunderstood vampires and werewolves. And although the dystopia genre is anything but new, ‘The Hunger Games’ seem to have ushered in a new era of post-apocalyptic tales with young adults at the helm.
Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. Upcoming films like ‘Divergent‘ and ‘The Maze Runner’ were entertaining books for adults young and old alike, and if the ravenous fans are any indication, the upcoming film adaptations will have a loyal fanbase that will continue to support the series throughout each series’ run.
But even I will admit that recent breaking news of two novel-to-film adaptations being picked up before they’re even published is a sign that Hollywood is getting a little bit ridiculous. Chris Weitz is no stranger to film adaptations, having penned and then directed films such as ‘About a Boy’ and ‘The Golden Compass.’ He’s even no stranger to ‘tween culture, having directed 2009’s ‘The Twilight Saga: New Moon.’ What he is a stranger to is the world of novel-writing, and yet a scant 15 months after signing a book deal, his novel ‘The Young World’ has been green-lit for film production. It centers around a post-apocalyptic dystopia in which a catastrophe kills off everyone but the world’s teenagers. It’s still early to judge a book by its cover — although it’s unknown if the book in fact has a cover yet.
Next up is a book by Francesca Haig called ‘The Fire Sermon,’ which was optioned by DreamWorks based on its manuscript. It caught studio attention when six different publishers in the United Kingdom were vying for the rights, and the rest is history. In this dystopian future, all humans have a twin, but one of each pair has a horrible mutation. The mutated half of the set are forced into settlements, and when one twin dies, so does the other. The story centers around a brother and sister and follows what happens when the brother becomes the leader of the repressed mutated settlement.
Me? I’m worried about the dystopian present, where studios are so eager to jump on the Next Big Thing before the other guy, they’re neglecting plenty of other brilliant works sitting right in front of them. Or, you know, they could even pen an original screenplay. Either way, if any studios are interested, I am planning on coming up with a brilliant novel idea in the upcoming months, if you’d like to offer me a movie deal in advance.