For some writers, having their book transformed into a movie isn’t always a great experience — it can be nerve-wracking, or downright difficult if they’re shut out of the filmmaking process altogether. But that’s not the case for Room scribe Emma Donoghue, who calls turning her book into an Oscar-nominated picture a “perfect” process.
“Everything about this project has been perfect for me,” says the first-time Oscar nominee, chatting by phone from Canada. “I’ve had the best ride. From the very beginning, working with a small Irish film company Element Pictures and Lenny Abrahamson in particular, there’s been an informality and an intense, committed teamwork on this film. It never felt anonymous or faceless or that the money people were setting the terms.”
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Abrahamson helped set the tone for a successful project from the very beginning by sending Donoghue a 10-page pitch letter.
“Every line of that letter convinced me,” she says. “It was modest. He didn’t mention is previous films, and he didn’t sell me on his virtues or reputation. It was full of confidence.”
The result? A movie (starring breakout star Brie Larson and child actor Jacob Tremblay) that didn’t compromise on a single aspect of Donoghue’s original nove and earned four Oscar nominations in the process.
“He [Lenny] didn’t suggest changing the ending, bringing them out of the room earlier, nothing like that,” recalls the Irish-born author. “He had a very clear vision of the film.”
That said, Donoghue has learned a thing or two about translating a bestselling novel to the big screen.
“I’ve learned not to get to obsessed with the actual dialogue and screenplay, the spoken words,” she says. “That’s just one aspect of the film and there’s a lot more to it than the words.”
With the hard work of movie making behind her, Donoghue – whose next novel will hit stores in September – is ready to enjoy the fruits of her labor.
“The irony is with these things is that you spend the immediate aftermath doing interviews you don’t get to go out immediately and drink champagne in the streets,” Donoghue says. “But I plan to have a very uncool dinner at 5 p.m. with the kids in an Irish pub.”