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Lethem gives away rights to novel

Book.jpgUsually writers sell their books to someone and lose control of it somewhere after that. If the book is really hot property and your name is quite big then they might give you some control, but even then you're likely to get squeezed on rights, input or just plain cash. Now writer Jonathan Lethem is giving the rights to his latest novel away free...well sort of free.

According to the report his novel You Don't Love Me Yet, which is being released this week, will give away the film option to any filmmaker that wants it, as long as Lethem agrees he's right for the job. However, he does want paid, he's looking for 2% of the final approved budget. Not only that but he wants to see all the character rights to go to the public domain after five years.

Okay, so if you take those two together then I think they are starting to be barriers to the film being made. I know the upfront option fee is already just that, but knowing that the cost of your final budget will determine the amount of money paid to the writer might encourage you to keep the budget down. Also if studios are going to see the characters being given up to the public in such a short time they might also be reluctant, after all that would make remakes, sequels and prequels slightly harder for all concerned.

The story comes from Variety.

He's calling for filmmakers who like the idea of making his book into a film to email him and discuss the possibilities. So he's certainly taking this idea all the way.

Lethem certainly has the exposure to get something positive and quite big out of this, he has another book Motherless Brooklyn, currently in development for a film with Edward Norton attached to direct.

Any scriptwriters fancy telling us their views on this one? What do you think as the audience, do you see any benefits hitting the screen, or is this just more behind the scenes dealmongering?.



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