Movie interest in writer's Muffin Man bookBy Pete Bryant
October 24, 2012
INTEREST from film studio Warner Brothers could lead to a Guildford man’s novel being made in to a movie with a $35million budget.
Stephan Collina, 57, is currently in the United States speaking to a film producer about turning his book The Muffin Man into a motion picture, which the entertainment giant has expressed a desire to distribute.
Unusually, the work may become a film before it is published as Stephan wishes to wait until a film deal is signed before approaching a publisher.
It would be second time lucky for the writer, whose novel The Village was published by Pegasus in 2004 but ultimately failed to achieve strong sales.
The Muffin Man, a political thriller in which the characters find themselves becoming caught up in a conspiracy, did, however, go on sale on Amazon for its Kindle e-reader last week.
Stephan said a conversation over coffee with an investor in New York during a business trip last year had launched the whirlwind series of events, which saw him introduced to a film producer, begin working on the film script and search for investors.
Actors and a director are also needed and Stephan said he could see Ed Harris or Woody Harrelson playing one of the lead characters, and Jude Law playing the other.
“Naturally I am delighted at the interest from Warner Brothers,” said Stephan. “The story has also been read critically by other writers in the film industry, and their reaction has been universally positive. They like the story and characters, and its originality.
“It is the biggest thing that has happened to me as a writer.”
A ‘package’ containing financial details and suggested actors and directors is almost ready to be presented to Warner Brothers, and Stephan will travel from Florida, where he is currently relaxing and writing another novel, to Los Angeles when this is the case.
He also retains a right to veto changes to his script and will be on set if and when filming commences.
Stephan revealed that he had written nothing creatively until he was 45 but, having accumulated some savings through his career as a technology company executive, decided in 2002 that he had enough time to fulfil his urge to write.
“I sat for days at my laptop wondering how best to start,” he said. “Once I began, I could not stop and the story evolved with a life of its own.”
He added: “I was lucky to be introduced to people in the movie business so quickly, but I decided to spend time and effort on that rather than on finding a publisher and it seems to have worked out.
“I’m not sure that would work for every budding writer though.”