Dear Melina Marchetta, when is Jellicoe going to be a film?

One day I will write an account about the adaption of Jellicoe. It’s been one of the longest times I’ve spent on one project.  My first novel (Alibrandi) took about six years to write. Most of my other novels took 18 months.  The film script of Jellicoe has taken technically five years.  In working that out, it has surprised me that I was able to write Finnikin, The Piper’s Son, Froi and Quintana during that time (I miss those Lumaterans and Charynites).

It’s strange to speak about the script and say it’s so different from the novel. Because it’s still about Taylor Markham who is left behind on the Jellicoe Road when she’s 11 years old. It’s still about her being chosen to lead the Boarders in the territory wars against the Cadets and Townies.  It’s still about the history Taylor has with Jonah Griggs, the leader of the Cadets. It’s still about a journal that reveals a story about five kids in the past.  It’s still about the absence of Hannah, the arrival of the Brigadier, the threat of Taylor being usurped by her own.

But it’s the telling of the story that is absolutely completely different. Most scenes are new. Most of the dialogue is new.  It’s not quite like fan fiction, but adaptation is strange in that it lets you write the same story again but with a different emphasis.

I know there is a quiet, excited buzz about  the project out there, and there are things I would love to reveal to you, but can’t. Still early days, believe it or not, after all this time.  But I thought I’d give you a list of ten things that I can reveal about the script.

  1.  My favourite line that doesn’t come from the novel is:  My dad says ghosts only reveal themselves when they’re waiting for someone to join them.
  2. My favourite line in the script from the novel is: You’re wearing flanalette. How scared should I be?
  3. The film doesn’t begin with the car accident, but a scene just as heartbreaking.
  4. Ben has the funniest lines. (Ben may be the person we cast first)
  5. My favourite scenes to write involved Taylor and Jonah. I also loved the Taylor and Jessa scenes.
  6. My favourite character of the script is Raffaela.
  7. The most heartbreaking scene (and there are many) is no different to the novel. It involves Fitz (who will be the hardest to cast).
  8. The most profound change is that the Hermit belongs to the present day.
  9. The flowers on the Jellicoe Road are still poppies.
  10. Tate still has a Pat Benetar hair cut when she’s 17. (I’m presuming that only people my age will understand how cool a Pat Benetar hair cut is.  My hairdresser refuses to give in to me because she says I don’t have the hair for it.)

39 thoughts on “Dear Melina Marchetta, when is Jellicoe going to be a film?

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  3. Tahnee

    This book is my favourite book of all time. Literally cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve reread this book and each time I get something different out of it than the last time. To hear it’s becoming a movie is amazing. I cannot wait to see it, I just hope it stays mostly authentic to the book. Obviously I know things will change but I love this book so much

  4. Marden Peterson

    I think Josh Hutcherson would be a great actor to play Ben, the whole time I was reading it, all I could picture was his nerdy, confident, self being played by him

  5. dear

    This book was an emotional roller coaster. I loved it. It was realistic but full of magic at the same time. ❤

    P.S. I came across someone's blog who mentioned a Rafi Gavron, and he does look similar to my mental image (albeit a vague one) of Jonah.

  6. Naomi

    So excited to hear more about the information about the film adaption I love On the Jellicoe Road!
    I was just wondering if Australian’s who aren’t exactly famous but who love the film and have some drama experience would be able to audition for roles such as at the parties in the club house as extras?

  7. Mila

    Other than the fact that Jellicoe means everything to me (thank you so much Melina for writing it), I think Liam Hemsworth should play Jonah. I’ve been picturing him since the 1st time I read the book.

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  9. Ariel

    I just finished reading this book yesterday (read it in one afternoon) and oh boy do I love it! It has now definitely become one of my favourite books. I was crying by the end of it. I am so happy to hear this is becoming a film because when I was reading it I could really see it being an amazing film. Any progress is good progress, can’t wait for it to eventually come out!

  10. Kallie Hart

    I just finished JR yesterday and I’m still crying today! It’s amazing and it touched me in so many more ways than I thought it would. I’m so happy I came across it! Now that I know it’s becoming a movie I’ll be sure to be on the look for more details. 🙂 thank you so much for everything!

  11. Georgia Collins

    Heard that they were looking overseas for the role of Taylor, should look in our own backyard !!!!! An Aussie film needs Aussie actors as the leads, such as Liam Hemsworth, Lincoln Lewis or even Marny Kennedy she originally was Taylor in another TV series ! Cast someone that has a following !! And who loves the book not just the script. Can’t wait to see the book come alive on the big screen, very excited!!

  12. Anna

    Hey, now that I’m thinking about it… is it just me who could see Dylan O’Brien playing Ben?!?! Oh my god that would be brilliant!!!!

  13. Anna

    I just finished JR an hour ago… it took me 4 hours in total to finish this book. I legitimately sat in bed reading it without breaks. It. Is. Freaking. Amazing. Honestly a new favourite book; some scenes with Taylor and Jonah had me squirming and giggling (definite OTP!), Ben had me laughing out loud, and the ending had me crying (sort of happy tears). Chaz was also a definite favourite character. Weird how I was picturing scenes from JR as a movie whilst reading before I even knew a movie was being made, which by the way I am ecstatic about. Please update us on what’s happening!!!
    I’ll be happy with anyone who gets casted as long as I get to see the movie, but I pictured Jonah as a sort of younger version of Theo James… or Colton Haynes? A mix I guess, though I know it’s not possible to get a younger version of an existing actor, hah. I imagined Chaz as a younger version of Michael Trevino (not possible again, but y’know, I’ll tell you anyway). I didn’t really picture Raffy as Phoebe Tonkin whilst reading JR but I saw someone mention that in the comments and I can see that now. I imagined Hannah to look like Jenna from the Vampire Diaries (probably because they’re similar characters, hah). Ben I imagined to act like Ezra Miller did when he played Patrick in ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, but not really to look like him… everybody else I had a clear image of, but not a specific actor/actress. Well anyway hope to hear news of the movie soon, beyond excited!!!!!!

  14. Ivy

    Jellicoe Road is an amazing novel with great setting! It deeply touches my heart in a way that I’ve never experienced before. My so excited to read this! I cannot wait to see the film ❤

  15. Oceana

    Dear Melina Marchetta,

    First of I would like to say, thank you! Thank you for writing this amazing novel that made me laugh, cry, gave me hope in life, and fall in love with these amazing characters you created. After reading the story in only 2 1/2 days I can’t stop thinking about the story, because the whole time I pictured it as a movie before I even knew you were writing a script. I have a funny way of listening to a song or reading a story and seeing movie scenes in my head. ( I hope that doesn’t make me crazy ).

    Anyways, I just wanted to thank you again on the novel. I apologize to the internet for boring them with my story, and I would love any feedback from an amazing author like you on the movie, because that is the industry I wish to peruse in. ( I want to make fantastic movies when I grow up ) and I would love to help make and be in this one.

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  17. Cat

    Im joining the list of devoted fans above in saying just how much I loved Jellicoe Road. Ever since I got it years ago from my sister who knew how much I love your previous stories, and since then I reread it bout once a month. So I cannot wait til this movie comes out and Im sure Ill love it just as much.
    One quick mention too, is that when I reread the Pipers Son (for the umpteenth time) last week I almost fell over in excitement to find the boys from Jellicoe Road in the book. Was so funny and amazing to be able to go ” OH MY GOD!! Ben is in love with Justine. And one of the mullet brothers is gay! and they’re all together still, even the stolen car”
    So thank you so much for all your books that I will continue to read for the rest of my life

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  19. Johanna Gillström

    Oh Melina, I’m so happy right now! Jellicoe Road means everything to me, I can’t sleep without that book. I most say ‘Thanks’ for… everything. You may not read this, but your book is wonderful and you’re an amazing writer -never stop write!
    Love to you.

  20. Nathalia (@NathBraganca)

    I’m almost crying, Melina. This is amazing. Can’t believe it’s actually happening. I love you and these characters so, so much, it makes me wanna cry. Thank you for everything.

  21. Skylar

    You should defiantly consider casting lily Collins in Jellicoe because that would be the best thing ever

  22. genevieve&bella

    we were brainstorming ideas for casting!

    Caitlin Stacey- Taylor
    phoebe Tonkin- raffy
    Liam hemsworth- Jonah
    Emily browning- narnie
    Hugo weaving – older fitz
    xavier Samuels- Richard
    Brenton thwaites- chaz
    suzie porter- Hannah
    brenna Harding-Tate
    Kate Beahan- old Tate
    callan mcauliffe- Ben

  23. Sarah

    Hi Melina!
    My favourite novel is On The Jellicoe Road!
    But I especially love the Lumenatre chronicles and now I am anxious to read your next book! I have been looking on the net and cannot find a release date for a new novel. Will there be any published books this year?

  24. Laila N


    And although you say it’s still early days, I will express no impatience for this movie to come out already, because I get the vibe a lot of people have been waiting longer than I have. The book has filled me up for now, and it’ll stay like that for a Long Time. How DO you do it?

  25. Sydney (like actually, I didnt take that from the book)

    Any chance you could tell me where I could send in an audition tape? I just feel that I could connect with these characters so well and it would be an honor to work with you.

  26. sassysmart

    There is only one line that I will need from the entire novel said and it will then destroy me just like “Always” did in HP.

    That line is “More.”

  27. Natalie

    Word cannot explain how happy and ecstatic I was when I found out this would become a movie. Thank you Melina for a wonderful book, and a soon to be wonderful movie

  28. lovingrob

    Oh, this is so so exciting 😀 I CANNOT wait for the movie. ❤ Jellicoe Road is suge a huge favorite of mine. I love your books. ❤ Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 *Hoping there will be more new Jonah scenes in the movie*
    Love, Carina Olsen

  29. Bethany

    Oh my gosh! I can’t handel the suspense!!!! I know it’s going to be different but I’m intrigue as to whether the characters are going to be the same ones I feel in love in with. I really hope so!!

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  32. Sarah Kellar

    If there was a Jellicoe Road movie, I would die of happiness.

  33. Jenny T

    I feel beyond excited for this film to come out…I want to be part as well!!!

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