An Exclusive Interview with Leigh Bardugo, Author of SHADOW AND BONE, Part 2

Here is part 2 of the interview I had done with author Leigh Bardugo, where we talk about the Shadow and Bone movie, and what’s next for Leigh. 

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TFGeekGirl:  What were your first thoughts about DreamWorks when they were interested in getting the rights to your book? 

Leigh Bardugo:  (laughs) You know, if I could have hand picked a company to be interested in making Shadow and Bone into a movie, it would have been DreamWorks.  But it’s the kind of thing that you just don’t even let yourself think about.  What are the chances?  It was just not a call I expected to get. I think it’s very hard to do fantasy well, and I think they’re one of the few places that can, so I feel very safe in their hands.

TFGG: Did you imagine a certain actor/actress when you were writing the characters?

Leigh:  I don’t really use actors as inspiration. But it’s really fun for me to see who people pick.  I love seeing fancasting and I love when people create fan art or images. 

TFGG:  I’ve seen some pictures and I saw that Colton Haynes was fancast as Mal, and I found that interesting.

shadow-and-bone_lowresLeigh:  I think with fancasting, and this isn’t a criticism – I think you sort of need something to go by – and so people feel much more constrained by the physical appearance of the characters. Now, I’ll admit that if they say “let’s make the Darkling blond,” I’d be upset.  But it’s really much more important to me that the actors be able to bring what they need to bring to the table, rather than that they look like what I have in my head.  And I hope that people will be open-minded on casting.  I think it’s easy to get attached to hair color or eye color, but the most important thing is to find people who can really bring these characters to life. Real charisma is rare, and you just don’t know what someone will bring to a character or what kind of chemistry they’ll have with the other people in the cast.

TFGG:  What scenes are integral to the story that just have to be in the movie?

Leigh:  That’s a hard question.  I think that there’s a reason I’m not writing the screenplay (laughs).  I suspect the biggest challenge with Shadow and Bone will be that there are a lot of things that happen internally for Alina that will need to be externalized.  In terms of things that have to be there, there are certain scenes that were really the basis from  which the entire book grew. I would be heartbroken to see them go or change radically, but I’m going to keep an open mind see what our screenwriter comes up with. I think it’s important for me to step back and respect that it’s a totally different medium.

TFGG:  Will they let you see the script?

Leigh:  They will let me see the script and I’m looking forward to meeting our writer (Christopher Kyle). He wants to know what’s going to happen in book three.

TFGG: Is that about as far as you think you’ll be in the production?

heyman-kyleLeigh:  I don’t know.  I was lucky enough to meet with [producer] David Heyman when I was in London and I told him I’d like to be as involved in it as they would let me. But the fact is I have books to write and they have movies to make, and I’m happy to let them do their job.  Again,  if it were a different group of people, I would be a lot more insecure or worried about what they might do.  But these are people who have a proven track record of working well with authors and creating beautiful films.

TFGG: Are you still writing Ruin and Rising?

Leigh:  Ruin and Rising, the first draft, is finished and sent to my editor.  It will have to go through revisions, but it’s done.

TFGG:  Do you have any stories after the Grisha Trilogy is finished?

Leigh:  I can’t talk about some of the other projects that I’m working on, but there are a few things cooking.  And there’s a good chance that there will be more books set in the same world.  I will promise that the trilogy for these characters will be complete.  There will be no question in your mind.

TFGG:  So, your time is in writing right now?

grisha_insignia-corporalki_heartrendersLeigh:  It is.  Between writing and promotion, there isn’t room for a whole lot of anything else.  But I really wouldn’t have it any other way.  This is what I wanted my whole life.  Even when I’m at my most stressed out or freaked out or worried or tired, that’s only the top layer, and below that top layer there’s that deep sense of gratitude and satisfaction, and disbelief, honestly – I’ll periodically be walking down the street and just think, “I’m going to wake up!”  I’m going to be in my bed, and it’s going to be three years ago and none of this will have happened.  So, I don’t mind.

TFGG:  What Grisha power would you want?

Leigh:  I would be a Heartrender. (laughs) I really like red, and I just think it would be so badass.

TFGG:  Do you have your own kefta?

Leigh:  I don’t!  But I want one desperately.  I’ve been lucky enough to have a few people come out in Tsarpunk costume to events and I love that. A wonderful woman sent me one she’d made, but it didn’t quite fit. I felt terrible because of the work she’d put in.

TFGG: What are you reading right now? 

Leigh:  Right now I’m reading a history of guerrilla warfare by Max Boot.  (The full title is “Invisible Armies: An Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare from Ancient Times to the Present”). I’m in a non-fiction phase and it’s also a little bit of research.  I don’t get to read as much of [YA] as I used to, because I just don’t have as much time to read. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’d actually never read The Hunger Games trilogy until this last summer. I took two days and read them all!

That was where we ended, but I was able to ask her one more question as we were about to go our separate ways, and if you’ve read the free short story called The Witch of Duva, which is available on tor.com, she did say that there will another short that will also be available for free on tor.com, and will come out before Siege and Storm.  

You can check out Leigh’s official site – www.leighbardugo.com, which has some really fascinating information about the world of the Grisha, including how to speak Ravkan, and recipes from Ravka.  You can also go to her Tumblr site, or her Pinterest board for art and fashion that helps visualize Ravka.  

Siege and Storm is scheduled to be released on June 4, 2013.  So, don’t forget to pre-order!  

Christopher Kyle to Adapt Screenplay for ‘SHADOW AND BONE’ Movie

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I just finished reading Leigh Bardugo‘s ‘Shadow and Bone’ novel recently, and I absolutely loved it.  So, knowing that the movie rights were sold, that the possibility of it being made into an actual movie, just sends me geeky goosebumps all over.  I guess you can say that I’m excited for the possibility.

Now here’s the latest news to come about from it.  The DreamWorks bought adaptation has a writer for the screenplay!

Christopher Kyle is in negotiations to adapt Shadow and Bone, DreamWorks’ adaptation of the YA fantasy from Leigh Bardugo.

Harry Potter producer David Heyman is producing, as is Jeffrey Clifford (Up in the Air).

Christopher Kyle, you say?  Who’s Christopher Kyle?  Well, let’s see…

Kyle, repped by ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, penned K-19: Widowmaker and co-wrote The Weight of Water, both of which were directed by Kathryn Bigelow, and worked on Oliver Stone’s Alexander, which starred Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie.

Last year, he adapted Ron Rash’s novel Serena, which shot with Susanne Bier behind the camera and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence top-lining the period drama. The picture is in the midst of seeking a distributor.

Making the announcement that they have a screenwriter along with the two producers is a good thing if you want to see progress in the development part of the movie-making process.  However, when they listed the writers credits, my mouth twisted awkwardly in a distressing manner.  

You see, from what’s he’s listed as writing, I’ve only seen Stone’s ‘Alexander,’ and let me just say that that movie is not particularly in my “favorite movies” category.  Actually, it’s pretty much in the opposite spectrum of my list of categories, which is so not good.  

Also, he doesn’t have a very extensive credits list on IMDB, so it would seem that he’s still fairly new to this whole movie thing.  What’s odd is that his scripts have been through the hands of very well-respected actors, so it’s odd to think that his scripts don’t attract.  Still, this history of Kyle’s doesn’t bode well for my feelings about how this movie could end up for DreamWorks, or the fans of the book in general.  

I’d like to think that it’s the the sum of its parts that make or break a movie, or anything else for that matter, so it would be unfair for me to think that the writer will kill the movie.  However, in a way, it can, especially if the writer doesn’t take care to respect the original source material, and when it comes to books, that’s a very important matter to respect.   Many movies suffered from such a thing, and so even though the attraction of turning YA literature into the “next big hit” is strong right now, the demand from the readers to keep close to the source material is still very strong, no matter if a previous movie was able to be successful despite straying every once in a while from the originals (Yes, David Heyman, I’m talking to you, too).  And it starts with the writing.  

What I’m saying that I just really hope, and will continue to do so for each book-to-movie adaptation, they Christopher keeps that in mind when he writes this book out.  The big things are easy to remember, but the little things are what make the story unique.   

Here’s a little synopsis of the book: 

The first book of the intended trilogy takes place in a land under attack by a swath of darkness filled with creatures that feast on human flesh. A young woman discovers she has a dormant power that could be a key to turning the tide and is taken to be trained by her country’s magical elite.

You can also read my review on ‘Shadow and Bone.’

via Hollywood Reporter.