The dream: From book to silver screen
Like most people, I have dreams and ambitions. Some seem impossible. Others seem unlikely. While some may, just may, if the stars are in alignment and I’m in the right place at the right time, may come true. Now I guess for someone who grew up in a house in a cemetery, it’s no surprise that my fiction veers towards the darker side of the spectrum. I also guess it makes me the real Shaun of the Dead, but I was lucky enough that towards the end of 2009 one of my impossible seeming dreams started to come true, and my novel, The Kult was optioned for film by an independent production company called Gharial Productions. The Kult is a serial killer story in the vein of Saw and Se7en, so it’s a little gruesome, but there’s more to the story than just horror, because it contains a blend of mystery, crime drama and thriller.
The synopsis is:
“People are predictable. That's what makes them easy to kill.
Acting out of misguided loyalty to his friends, police officer Prosper Snow is goaded into helping them perform a copycat killing, but when the real killer comes after him, it’s not only his life on the line, but his family's too. Now if he goes to his colleagues for help, he risks being arrested for murder. If he doesn't, he risks being killed.”
I know that a number of books get optioned for film, so although I was very excited when the publisher presented me the offer they had received, I was also under no illusions that it might not progress any further and my dream would remain just a dream. But much to my amazement, things moved along at a steady pace. Interviews were conducted for actors, a director was hired and it looked as though filming was about to become a reality. And then sure enough, filming began in September, 2010 in San Diego. I live in the UK, but I was lucky enough to fly out to see some of the shoot in October, and it was an experience I shall never forget.
On the second night I was in America, I did a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Oceanside. Straight after the signing I was whisked away to the set to see some of a night shoot. This was where I first met the director Kip and the producer, Dan who between them have enrolled an awesome bunch of people both behind and in front of the camera. Even though I had pictured the characters I’d created, the reality was that the actors didn’t look much like I’d imagined them, but once I saw them at work, I could understand why they were chosen for their roles. They all put in 100% effort and they brought the characters I’d created to life (being surrounded by people that I had in a way created was to say the least, surreal. And to hear them speaking words that I’d written only made the situation more bizarre).
While I was there, I even managed to sneak a cameo role (luckily they didn’t catch me in time before I walked past the camera so if you see a tattooed guy who looks like a rabbit in the headlights, that’s probably me). I did my cameo with a great lady called, Sandy, who since filming has sadly passed away. Now when Sandy went into character, she had to be seen to be believed, and when she started swearing at me, I had to keep telling myself, 'she doesn’t mean it, it's only a film'. But she was that convincing, I have my doubts …
Everyone on set was really friendly and I learned a lot about what goes on behind the scenes, which was fascinating. It’s hoped that the film will be released sometime later this year, so I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that what I once thought impossible actually comes to fruition, and I get to see my work translated from book to silver screen. But the point of all this is that I’m a small time author with big dreams. Everyone has dreams, but sometimes, dreams can come true, so never stop believing. There’s still a long way to go before the film makes it to a screen, either big or small, but in the words of Mr Miyagi's father in Karate Kid, Part II: [upon seeing his son again after so many years] If I am dreaming, let me never awaken. If I am awake, let me never sleep.
For anyone interested in the film, please check out the website: www.thekultmovie.com
About the Author
Shaun Jeffrey was born in 1965 and live in Cheshire, England with his partner, Debra and their fantastic son, Callum. Growing up in a house in a cemetery, his playground was the graveyard - perfect grounding for writing horror, and his early reading experience came from there. He had over 40 short stories published, one collection entitled Voyeurs of Death, and three novels, Evilution, The Kult and Deadfall. The Kult has been optioned for film and shooting began in September, 2010.