Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mistborn Movie Musings

I know, I know, more Brandon Sanderson...

A hot topic among Sanderson-ites (does this work? We need a name) is the prospect of a film based on the Mistborn series--which have been optioned and are in the early, early stages of maybe-it'll-get-developed.  Sanderson doesn't actually expect the movie to get made, but he is a rising star in the world of fiction.  His contributions to the Wheel of Time series are introducing his other works to an ever-expanding audience.  And his young-adult series is farther along the movie track, which will bring more eyes to his Alcatraz books, which will bring more eyes to his other works.  I think a film based on his less-young-adult works is inevitable, and I think Mistborn is the most likely place to start.  In short, I think he's wrong.

This is not the only thing I think he's wrong about with regards to movies based on his own properties.  During the second Q&A last Wednesday, he was asked if he had a favorite director that he would want to helm the series.  He posited Robert Rodriguez, and my immediate response to that is "are you effing kidding me?"

First off, consider Rodriguez' body of work.  *shudder*  Moving on, let's take a look at this particular property, shall we?  It takes place in an imaginative and dense fantasy world.  It is much beloved by an ardent-but-surprisingly-large group of nerds.  It has a sizable cast of likable good-guys, many of whom get killed in dramatic and unexpected ways.  The bad guys include humans who are mutilated into monsters.  And the main character is a teenage girl who battles those monsters and kicks ass through the use of her newly-awakened magical powers.

If this doesn't scream Joss Whedon, then I don't know what does.

There was also a question about who Sanderson would want to play Kelsier, and he didn't have an answer, but to me the much more pressing question is who would play Vin.  Ten years ago I would have said Natalie Portman, but she's really too old to play a teenager in this series of films, the first of which might start production in, at best, a couple of years.

The best I can come up with is Ellen Page, which I must admit is a bit of a stretch.  She's certainly got the look and is a very capable actor; it's really a question of whether or not she could muster the intensity to override her inherent adorable-ness when required.  On the one hand, she's the girl we all hoped Thora Birch would grow up to be (seriously, what happened between Patriot Games and American Beauty?).

On the other hand, Hard Candy.


PS - If you haven't read Mistborn and aren't immediately revolted by spec-fiction (or reading in general), give it a try--it's quite good.

PPS - If anybody can get this set of books in front of Whedon, consider yourself tasked.

PPPS - Yes, Warbreaker would be an excellent movie as well, especially given the visually-oriented nature of the magic system.  Whether it is a more or less likely than Mistborn is a purely academic discussion, and I would have acknowledged that above, but that first paragraph was already running a bit long.

PPPPS - Why are you still reading post-scripts? Seriously, surf on over to Cracked or something.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Brandon Sanderson Post-Signing Geekout Blog Post

There were lots of questions about Brandon Sanderson's expanded cosmology, but the most interesting answer came well after the Q&A.  Said cosmology--the tale of Hoid and the Shards of Adonalsium--at this point amounts to little more than wild speculation about a series of easter eggs throughout Sanderson's corpus; Sanderson has confirmed very little, although you can occasionally gauge by his reactions to questions that the fans have figured out more than he intended.

He was asked if he had planned it from the very beginning--even in the 13 books he wrote before getting a single one published.  He said yes, that he had.  He wanted to write epic fantasy, but he knew he couldn't start a series and hope to get it published--so he created standalone novels and mini-series' that take place in the same universe and have at least one common character.  Since he knew he couldn't sell an editor on it, he hid it from the editors.

Last Wednesday at 7, fantasy author Brandon Sanderson did a signing at the Barnes & Noble in Chesterfield.  He came onto my radar by way of the Writing Excuses weekly podcast (the hands-down must-listen for anyone interested in writing) that I discovered through my brother-in-law, Bill.  We're tremendous fans, so we not only jumped at the chance to get stuff signed, Abby started making things for him to sign (hers are the four on the left). Abby even came in costume:
This being a mistcloak from the Mistborn trilogy.  We got pictures, we got all kinds of things signed.  Brandon even twit-pic'd Abby's costume, saying it was one of the best he'd ever seen (which gave her a perverse thrill).

Around quarter to nine the line was through, so he did Q&A in the store while he signed a few dozen copies of his book that were sitting on a display.  Once the store closed at 9, he continued the Q&A in the parking lot for another half hour or so--which consisted largely of RAFO-ing spoilers for Wheel of Time and his cosmology--and then invited whoever was interested back to his hotel to play Magic: The Gathering.

No, really.

And this was when the real fun began.  For starters, I was the first to the hotel, and Brandon was the second, so I had him to myself for about 5 minutes.  We chatted about... well, mostly about Dan Wells--who is another favorite author of mine that I discovered through the Writing Excuses podcast--while Brandon checked out some of his fan gifts.

Once enough players arrived, the games began.  There were two games--both were everybody-against-Brandon in a Magic variant called "Archenemy" and the players got solidly trounced in the first game by Brandon's "Cthulhu To The Face" deck.  Amid the spell-casting there was more discussion, less the form of a Q&A and more of friendly chatter.  To a certain point--at the end of the day we were all rabid fans hanging on every word of one of our idols.

The second game went better--Evan brought several decks and a few more of us joined the game.  The spoils of our victory were a code for The Great Hunt--a viral-type game leading up to the next Wheel of Time release.  As well we got more stuff signed.  And more pictures.

I've had the pleasure of meeting several mid-to-low-tier celebrities: Jonathan Coulton, Vienna Teng, Jason Webley, even Max Lucado once (although at the time I didn't have any idea who he was).  They're all super-polite and gracious and friendly, but being invited to hang out with ("hang out" here meaning "geek out over nerd games") someone you can normally only admire from a distance was a singularly thrilling experience.

It was one of the most fun evenings I've had in a while, and one of the most interesting for a while to come.