A little over a year ago, I was trying to take a nap when I got a call from an agent at the William Morris Agency.
I immediately recognized the name of the world’s largest entertainment agency and my mind quickly began thinking perhaps someone has heard a song and wanted…. when the caller asked if my book “The Real Coke, the Real Story” had been optioned?
This gave me pause. Book? I had written a book 29 years before. Option?
I managed to say without too much hesitation, “No.”
He then says two of his clients want to option my book for a movie. And he wants to arrange a telephone conference so they can make their pitch.
I had managed to get both feet firmly planted on the floor just before I was elevated to whichever cloud induces fantasies of fame and fortune. But I was soon to learn that to arrive at such destinations one must travel a long and winding road full of delays without end or explanation.
I was told the two writers were the writers behind one of Hollywood’s recent surprise hits: “Zombieland,” starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Esienberg, with a cameo by Bill Murray. Critics loved it and it made lots of money. They even overnighted me a DVD of the movie, as if I hadn’t seen it.
While I waited for the conference call, I did a little research on these two and found out they were also the writers on the much-anticipated movie “Deadpool,” a spin-off from Marvel’s and Sony’s X-Men goldmine.
These guys had other credits as well. They were, in other words, the real deal.
I speculated, and they later confirmed, their interest in new Coke came about because of the success that Oscar year of two business scandal movies, “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Hence, the creative types in Hollywood, home of the world’s largest Xerox machine, were brainstorming other American business debacles or scandals.
Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese landed on new Coke. They found the Kindle version of my book on Amazon and fell in love with it.
They told me they envision the Coke movie, like “American Hustle,” as part period piece, in this case, the “vibrant” 1980s. They speak in hyperbole, which I’m too modest to repeat, about how big they think this could be. And some of the actors’ names they toss around, well, quite frankly make me giggle.
So who knows? It may never happen. I bet there are a 100-plus options, if not multiples of that, for every movie made.
Still, I have a book that has been optioned for a movie.
And for y’all dying to know but won’t find out in the grocery store tabloids: There is no money paid for an option (or otherwise Hollywood would go broke, per the above ratio of options to movies).
Payment is made on day one of the actual production. So, they have to get the movie financed and into production before I would receive anything.
So, keep your fingers crossed. And if anyone ever suggests I take naps because I’m lazy, you now know the real reason: I am waiting on a call.
P.S. For those who would like to read the book before the movie comes out, follow the Book link in the header above or click http://thomas-oliver.com/books/