By Edwin P. Sallan & photos by MJ Maramba, InterAksyon.com
Lauren Kate says she does not write novels with the purpose of seeing them adapted for the big screen.
The bestselling American author of “Fallen,” the first of what would become a series of young adult fantasy romance novels involving a group of fallen angels that were banished from heaven and continue to walk the earth, says she’s too preoccupied with what her characters are up to and the world that they’re inhabiting to even think about what happens next when the story is finished.
“When I optioned ‘Fallen’ for movie rights, it still felt so far off from me and I don’t think it would ever happen. A lot of books are optioned and a lot of them don’t ever go anywhere,” she said during one of the meet and greet activities that preceded the red carpet premiere of Pioneer Films’ “Fallen,” which opens in Philippine cinemas this Thursday, November 10.
“It started to feel real when I met Scott Hicks the director and I saw that he instinctively had a vision that was similar to the one that I had when I was creating the books,” Kate added.
Hicks is an Academy award-nominated Australian filmmaker (“Shine”) who has had his share of box office successes in romantic dramas like “No Reservation” and “The Lucky One.” He impressed Kate with his take on the novel which also included some creative liberties that pleased the author and exceeded her expectations
“More than scene-to-scene faithfulness, it’s the faithfulness to the spirit of the story is more important to me. I know there are certain scenes and moments in the books that readers would be looking for in the film. But I was most interested in making a really strong movie. There’s a lot that fans in the book will recognize and there is also a lot of cool new stuff to enjoy,” she promised.
“Watching all the decisions and choices Scott Hicks made to make this beautiful movie, it’s just been a great ride and I’m so excited to see it come alive.”
Published in 2009, “Fallen” took the publishing world by storm as it introduced a group of memorable characters and a compelling romance that pits Heaven against Hell in an epic battle over true love.
Collectively, the books in the series (“Fallen,” “Torment,” “Passion,” “Rapture” and the “Fallen in Love” collection of novellas set in the Middle Ages) has sold over 10 million copies in over 30 countries around the world.
Since its publication, critics have compared the series with Stephanie Meyers’ equally popular “Twilight” franchise—something that neither Kate nor actor Harrison Gilbertson, who accompanied her to the meet and greet activities and the premiere, acknowledge even as they both maintain that “Fallen” is a totally different animal.
“People who enjoy ‘Twilight’ and I know there are many of them are going to find a lot to enjoy in ‘Fallen’,” Kate insisted.
“It’s easy to compare two things in the same genre but I think ‘Fallen’ is very different from the other young adult films that I’ve seen,” added Gilbertson.
Although the plot involving the fallen angels that Kate extensively researched through reading the Bible and numerous theology books, it’s the intriguing love triangle between Lucinda “Luce” Price (Addison Timlin), a girl who saw shadows and demons and fallen angels Daniel Grigori (Jeremy Irvine) and Cameron “Cam” Briel (Gilbertson) that resonated most with fans of the series.
“I think everybody who is pushed into a love triangle is pushed to look more deeply inside and figure out who you are and what you want and how to be autonomous and strong. I think love triangles can be really exciting and positive,” Kate said.
Timlin, who joined Kate and Gilbertson at the premiere, admitted that the huge fan base of the novels will be very keen in seeing how the film and its cast would give life to such well-loved characters.
“There’s also a certain terror in disappointing them but I do read tweets I get or letters I’ve got and they love this character in a way I completely understand. I hope we did the books justice. I think the fans will be pleased in how we’ve translated it to film because we’ve stayed true to the story,” the young American actress said.
Asked what advice he would give to anyone who finds themselves entangled in a love triangle, Gilbertson took a more simplistic view and only has this to say.
“Get out of it,” he exclaimed.