So Clive Cussler, author of approximately 6 billion best-selling books about supersubmarines and undersea fistfights, is suing Hollywood for screwing up one of his books, Sahara. Remember that whole Matthew McConaughey-in-Africa action-adventure debacle (pictured) from a while back? Yeah, me neither — and that’s the problem.
Cussler says the movie failed because the studio ignored his notes — notes he says they were contractually obligated to take. (I somehow doubt this.) He also says Sahara’s flop did near-fatal damage to his career — which is possible, I suppose, only if you factor in the hypothetical millions Cussler might have made if Sahara had spawned a Dirk Pitt franchise. (Pitt’s the hero of most of Cussler’s novels — now that he’s been irreparably McConaughey’ed, he’s unlikely to find his way back to the screen.)
So… author sues Hollywood. Will he win? I doubt it very much. But this brings up a larger question: How much say should an author have over film versions of his/her work? Right now, it depends entirely on clout and the tenacity of their agents. And it’s no guarantor of quality, as Thomas Harris and J.K. Rowling have vividly demonstrated.
Here’s a question that’s much more fun: Who SHOULD sue? Whose books have been most grievously abused by Hollywood?
And if you say Stephen King, so help me, I will come through the Internet and slap your face.
addCredit(“Sahara: Keith Hamshere”)