SPIELBERG’S COMPANY AMBLIN TO MAKE OUR AMERICAN REAPER
This was the news just announced. Ciaran Foy to direct.
American Reaper is a sci-fi action noir graphic novel, written by me, drawn by Clint Langley. It’s set in a near-future where the ageing elite, called “Snatchers,” prey upon the young, paying to hijack their bodies in order to prolong their own lives. This extreme form of identity crime has become so rampant on the black market that law enforcement has been forced to create a new division, which the public has nicknamed “Reapers.”
Jeremy Davis, representing our company REPEAT OFFENDERS LTD, is an executive producer on the film. He is also the award-winning film producer of Caught (2017) and Strike (2019).
Jeremy is one third of REPEAT OFFENDERS LTD. This is the company Jeremy, artist Clint Langley and myself formed to make creator-owned properties like AMERICAN REAPER. Reaper is a story where, to quote a fan, ‘The elderly rob the young of their futures’. Surely a tale for our times!
Of course the film’s still got to be physically made and doubtless that will be the usual assault course, but with the backing of a company like Amblin Entertainment, I think there’s considerable grounds for optimism.
With this exciting news, fans have asked me about the State of Play with film versions of other British comic stories and what’s my opinion on it all?
Certainly there’s likely to be further film interest in my other creations, both with Repeat Offenders and outside Repeat Offenders.
And that’s really good news for my new comic SPACEWARP because its six stories are all creator-owned by myself and the respective artists.
SPACEWARP is just out on digital on Kindle and Comixology. The paper edition will be published in October.
In my opinion, its stories would all make excellent films, not least because I followed the rules of McKee’s Story when I created them. Having gone to his seminar and marinaded myself in his approach, screenwriting guru McKee’s Story is pretty much my bible.
But the path to getting any film made is a tough one and the magic ingredients, in my view, are full transparency, keeping the creators informed, affability, optimism, perseverance, yet combined with scepticism and not getting taken in by bullshit.
These are qualities Jeremy Davis, the business side of our company Repeat Offenders, most certainly has. And they need noting because they’re at the heart of closing a deal. Not only on American Reaper, but also, previously, on our other RO property: WAR DOG – the story of the legendary Irish hero Cuchulain, (the basis for Slaine). Thanks to Jeremy’s efforts, the Irish Film Board financed me to write the screenplay and Clint to produce some fantastic production designs. Only the lack of a Hollywood star has stopped WAR DOG getting to the next level. Thus far.
And we’ve a number of other Repeat Offenders properties that Jeremy will be focussing on now: YESTERDAY’S HERO, a future war story about a robot soldier and an old school human soldier, ROSE NOIR, a female vigilante who kills love rats, and DARK APPS, a sinister school for young spies.
But these qualities that I’ve described are pretty thin on the ground. For example, I lack Jeremy’s patience, which is why I’ve given up marketing MARSHAL LAW, even though we still get endless film enquiries and Kevin O’Neill and I own the movie and merchandising rights to the superhero hunter. Because so many enquiries turn out to be fishing trips and time wasters, or someone wanting to make it into a low-budget, ‘punk’ art-house movie. I don’t even tell Kevin about most of them, as his patience threshold is even lower than mine.
Affability is also a quality I could use more of! Thus before ACCIDENT MAN was successfully made into a movie starring Scott Adkins (with a second ACCIDENT MAN film now being planned), there was Hollywood interest in the assassin. But the American production company, after stringing me along for some months, said their option money had run out for the year, so would I sign a free shopping agreement with them instead? Basically that gives the production company rights over the property for free! I was not amused.
Full transparency is another crucial element. It has certainly been lacking where Rebellion are concerned. Thus two well-known directors complained to me about being blind-sided by them on SLAINE. And, in my own case, there was recent TV company interest in FLESH. But the company in question were told the rights were ‘not available’ without Rebellion explaining to me why this was the case.
Some months earlier Rebellion had told me they were going to make Flesh ‘in house’ and that I would be a ‘paid consultant’. So their producer picked my brains at great length on the subject, which I was happy to let him do as I had agreed to be a paid consultant. It was only at the end of a long conversation that I discovered ‘paid consultant’ actually meant I’d only be paid if they got the movie or TV series away.
‘What are the terms of being a paid consultant?’ I asked? ‘We’ll send you the contract,’ they replied. Drawing on Jeremy’s renowned patience, I duly waited… and waited… and waited.
After two years, still no news from Rebellion.
So it’s presumably yet another dead project or they’ve just decided to rub the creator out of the picture.
By comparison, I practise full transparency on SPACEWARP and I get so much better results. My artist co-creators voluntarily produce extra art and help with promotions.
Thus one artist ADE HUGHES recently drew a poster of the entire (!) SPACEWARP UNIVERSE for free, to help promote SPACEWARP.
Here it is. I can’t imagine how long it took Ade! I’ll talk in a future about how YOU can get a hi-res copy for FREE. So you can download it, print it out, colour it – it’s up to you. And no, you won’t have to sign a shopping agreement to buy SPACEWARP first! And no, we don’t even want your email address either. You can download a copy FREE even if you never pick up the comic. I leave the catches and the blindsiding to others.
And certainly in these days where Netflix run comic series like Umbrella Academy, we hope there will be film or TV interest in the stories in SPACEWARP which are in similar genres: JURASSIC PUNX, FU-TANT, SF1, HELLBREAKER, SLAYER, XECUTIONERS. When that happens my co-creators will be the first to be told.
Here’s our trailer, which will give you a great sense of what SPACEWARP is about:
Similarly, Jeremy always keeps Clint Langley and me in the loop. It’s a shared journey – we share the successes and the disappointments. So I’m looking forward to seeing what happens on our Repeat Offenders properties ROSE NOIR, YESTERDAY’S HERO and DARK APPS.
Clint Langley has done some amazing promotional art for all three and that will be up on the Repeat Offenders website shortly. I’ll let you know when.
Against this background, you can see that it takes the talents I’ve described to make a movie happen – especially with a major film company like Spielberg’s. As you can imagine, it was never all straightforward and there were some challenging moments. And that’s where affability, optimism and patience are absolutely vital! I know I personally would have fallen at the fourth or fifth fence, but Jeremy just kept on going to pass the winning post.
So, above all the talents I’ve described, Jeremy has one more which seems to be in short supply in British comics.
The ability to close a deal.