Authors are often asked who would be their dream cast if a movie of their book was made. I’m in the enviable position that I don’t have to make up a dream cast as my book The Kult really has been filmed. It may only be an independent production, and the actors will not be people you’ll of heard of (yet), but I think it’s still a major achievement having a film of ones work made. Lots of books are optioned, which basically means someone secures the rights for a period of time to make the film, but most never go beyond this stage to actual shooting, so I’d never expected mine to really progress, but then back in 2010, shooting began.
It’s been a long road since then, and the film hasn’t yet been released, but it’s been an eye opening adventure that saw me travelling from the UK to California to see some of the filming. And I have to say that seeing your work come to life, meeting characters that you’ve created, and hearing them speak words you’ve written is one of the most surreal things I’ve ever experienced.
Now of course I didn’t get to choose the cast, and to be honest, most of them didn’t fit the image I had in my head when I was writing, but once I saw them in action, they brought the characters to life and went to show that it’s not necessarily about someone’s appearance as much as it is about the character themselves.
The other thing that I had to accept was that there were going to be changes to the story. These have to be made for a number of reasons, including length (fitting a 300 page book into an hour and a half means there have to be concessions), budget and also location. The book was set in the UK, but it was filmed in the US. In the UK, the police aren’t armed with guns, and as the lead character is a police officer, this meant there had to be changes to account for this (it’s always been quite amusing when people in the US question how the police in the UK protect themselves if they’re not armed, to which I answer that they don’t have to carry guns as the crooks over here generally aren’t armed either. If there is a crime committed with weapons, a specialised firearms unit is called in).
So when it comes to having your book turned into a film, there will be changes. Some you’ll agree with, others you won’t, but if you want to see your baby brought to life, you just have to accept this.
Now my only dream is actually seeing the film released in one form or another.
Shaun Jeffrey was brought up in a house in a cemetery, so it was only natural for his prose to stray towards the dark side when he started writing. Among his writing credits are five novels, Killers, The Kult, Deadfall, Fangtooth, and Evilution. He has also had short stories published in Surreal Magazine, Dark Discoveries, Shadowed Realms, and Cemetery Dance, along with two collections published, The Mutilation Machination and Voyeurs of Death. His novel, The Kult, has been filmed by Gharial Productions and is currently in post production.