FAQ: When will your book be made into a movie?

Warren Ellis answers one of the questions most frequently asked of authors: "When will your book/comic/whatever be turned into a TV show or movie?"

FAQ: I don’t get to decide what gets made into a tv series or film. I cannot, I’m afraid, cause people to give me money for things by magic or force of will. Because, let’s face it, if I could, you’d be part of the slave army building my hundred-mile-high golden revolving statue right now.

I’m glad we got that straightened out.

Thank you, Uncle Warren. As always, you've phrased it perfectly.

FAQ: I Don’t Get To Decide What Gets Made Into A Movie Or TV Show


  1. I empathize with the frustration authors must feel when having written something in one format, others might ask when it will appear in another format.  However this response is kind of dickish.  If someone asked you when will it be in audiobook format would you respond so dickishly?

    I don’t think most people think authors have any control over if and when a movie will be made because most people have no clue what the process is.  I think most people think that an author who writes well has movie producers banging at their doors wanting to ‘option’ their creation for movie, tv, hbo original programming, etc.

    Wouldn’t a better response be “I haven’t been approached by any producers, but wouldn’t that be great.”  I know … not smarmy enough.

    1. In answer to your question: Logically, yes.

      But personally, I wouldn’t expect that from Warren Ellis. Ellis I expect to respond with something smarmy, as you say, and something which aligns words into a delightfully vile and perhaps vaguely, shamefully, disturbingly erotic torture device. It’s kind of his schtick.

      Which of course is not really how normal people act, but I guess that’s my own point. Warren is not normal people.

      1. and that’s why we love him.

        A normal person wouldn’t be able to make a comic about the adventures of post-singularity pseudo-cyberpunk Hunter S. Thompson and have it come out as good as Transmetropolitan did.

    2. I don’t think that answer is less dickish, just much less Warren Ellis.

      As a fan, if the author of Transmetropolitan were to say anything so dull, I’d be deeply disappointed.

    3. I don’t see what’s so dickish about it. It’s quite a straight-forward answer. Up until the bit about the slave army, anyway, and that’s just Ellis being a character, specifically the character of Warren Ellis.

  2. Cory, we’ve started work on your hundred mile high statue. Actually, we’re building a hundred mile high 3d printer. Then we can make lots of statues.

    1.  While you’re at it, can you print me a house, too? A hundred-mile-tall 3D printer, assuming its wide enough to make a Cory with proper proportions, should be big enoguh you could just print a house or 20 in between his feet during each run without affecting the statue at all.

      1. The statues will contain living units for the slave armies. Since the statues rotate(controlled by arduino), each unit will get its share of direct sunlight, etc. It should be quite nice. Also, each unit will contain a 2D printer that will automatically print everything Cory writes for the slaves to read. That’s right, a 3D printer that prints a 2D printer. 

  3. Dear Authors,

    Please do not be upset if anybody asks this question. Please substitute the statement “I wish this were made into a movie” in its place.

    Thank You

  4. Which reminds me, Cory, when will your books be made into a movie/TV series?

    Any of them (though I suspect Little Brother is probably the most adaptation friendly of the ones I’ve read). 

      1. The thing is, they simply don’t need to. No other company could make D&E without seriously filing off the trademarks.

        1. Kind of a funny-ish story about Disney — my agent subbed Game AI book there, got back this blistering letter about how the writing sucked and was so poor and Dis just won’t work with that poor quality – couple weeks later book goes to auction, SS and HMH—– —- anyway, find out a few months later Dis was devving Wreck it Ralph, kind of a similar angle, & in production with it. I’m sure it was just a coincidence but it makes a good story.

        2. Well yeah, what I meant was that I’d love to see Disney actually make it, since as you say, no one else really could.

          Since I’m pretty sure Cory gave it a non-commercial CC licence, I think they’d still have to buy the option from him, though, no?

          Unless they just ripped his story off of course. Hey Cory, when is Disney going to rip your story off?

  5. Another good answer would be when the people pitching it reference Dexter rather than The Dresden Files.

  6. ” I cannot, I’m afraid, cause people to give me money for things by magic or force of will.”

    Would someone please inform the **AA’s and their subsidiaries of this so they stop already?

  7. Yeah, pf. Stoopid fans.

    Authors may not control adaptation of their work, but they may possibly have a little more information about the status of any such projects than, say, a fan, who is, after all, only interested in YOUR work.

  8. A hundred mile high golden statue of Warren Ellis would be one way to achieve cheap access to space. Where do I sign up for his slave army?

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