Hollywood Calling

Well, it’s official.

The final contract (4 copies) arrived today. The movie option for my novella “Kept”. This is it, ladies and gentlemen. If allcontract4.jpeg goes well, some day very soon my strange little tale will be making the leap to the big screen.

The good news was delivered to my door this morning by a nice man from FedEx, who handed me the fat, white envelope and then paused to admire our front flowerbeds (hey, I thought those guys were supposed to hustle from location to location). This has been a long time coming, there have been numerous revisions, phone calls and discussions (some of it unpleasant and I take full responsibility for that–I’m a terrible negotiator, lose my temper far too easily).

This option isn’t going to make me a millionaire but it will take care of some of the maintenance and upkeep for this old, old house. A new, high-efficiency furnace. Airtight doors. And those eaves are looking downright grim…

Anyone who’s been tuning in to this blog knows that my feelings toward contemporary movies and the people who make them are…erm…not overly kind. Still, the chap who’s adapted “Kept” seems to be a guy with a future in the film biz and he tells me that actual shooting could begin later this summer. Now there’s a daunting thought. Don’t get me wrong, “Kept” is perfect film material–it’s structured cinematically and features a gripping plot and some pretty wild characters. Jayson, the screenwriter, somehow hooked up with the people at Twisted Pictures/Lion’s Gate, the folks who brought you those ever-popular “Saw” movies, “Hostel”, etc. They’re not a fly-by-night outfit, they’ve got pedigree. If it does actually get made, more than a few people are bound to see “Kept: The Movie”…only, of course, it will be Jayson’s vision that will be front and centre, not mine.

reel.jpegThat’s hard for a control freak like me to deal with. I’ll get screen credit but that will flit past in an instant. The hope is that any attention the film gets will parlay into more readers for yours truly. Maybe it’ll be a smash hit. God knows. Stranger things have happened. And then what? Aye, there’s the rub. I’m an imaginative bloke but I still have a hard time visualizing that particular future.

The guy I’m most grateful to right now is Peter Crowther. His terrific British press PS Publishing put out my book Righteous Blood (which included “Kept” and another novella, “Living With the Foley’s”, also currently being adapted into a screenplay) back in 2003 and if it hadn’t been for him, this movie deal and everything else that might follow simply wouldn’t have happened. God bless you, Pete, for your faith in me and my bizarre literary offerings.

So, hey, if “Kept” (or whatever it finally ends up being called) ever does make it to your local cineplex, drop me a line, will you? Let me know what you think. I live in a town with only one movie theatre so the chances of it showing up here are slim and none. I’d have to drive in to the nearest big city and with my writing schedule and reluctance to travel that might be a long shot. Did the movie give you a jolt or two? If you’ve read the original novella, tell me how you think it fared. When I was discussing “Kept” with Jayson, I told him at one point: “D’you know what I think the theme of the story is? That even in Hell there’s a hierarchy of evil.”

It was an off-the-cuff comment but afterward I realized I had hit pretty close to the mark. From its conception, “Kept” scared me, put the whammy into me like nothing I’ve written before or since. I’ve never been able to re-read it all the way through since the book was published. I had to go into some dark places to write it and I don’t think I’ve ever completely shaken it off. Hopefully you’ll see what I mean when you view the finished film. It was created in a white heat of rage and despair and desperation. I hope some sense, at least a hint of the primal, visceral power of the original novella makes it into the final cut. If it does, you’re in for a treat.



  1. Darshan

    Congratulations and keep the faith.

    Ever have the desire to adapt something of your own? Perhaps write an original screenplay. It is truly a different beastie, a separate process unto itself, but ultimately a rewarding one.

    I will look forward to “Kept” when it hits the big screen!



  2. Art Slade

    Ah, this is great news Mr. Burns! Don’t worry when the movie plays in Saskatoon I’ll sneak in my DV camera, record it, and e-mail it to you. Oh, wait, that would break a few copyright laws, wouldn’t it?
    Seriously, I’m happy for you, for your family and your eavestroughs.
    Crossing my fingers that they do the story justice!


  3. amuirin

    The Hollywood thing is a real mind-fuck, isn’t it? A part of the creative temperament must reject the whole dog and pony show, and yet it’s the silver bullet to bigger things, more independence and creativity, possibly even artistic control over something like it in the future.

    Maybe it’s the same when a book is published, I don’t know. You’re put in a position to hope that they like it, and yet you’re releasing a creative work into the popular mainstream, the same people who made Justin Timberlake popular and re-elected Bush.

  4. fairlane

    I was going to say “congrats”, but instead I’ll say; if you need anyone to play a degenerate, foul mouthed punk I’m your man.

    I don’t actually have any experience acting, but from watching movies I get the impression acting ability is not that important. Anyway keep me in mind.

    Nice to hear of your success. I’m on a similar road myself. My blog only serves as place to rant, and not be overly concerned with grammar or even common decency.


  5. Meg

    And you’re the one who’s commenting on my blog about envy? (She says, eyes gleaming green.) Congratulations!

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