30th November 2014: Jellicoe (Again)


I’m going to blog more than once this week, and I thought I’d start with Jellicoe because my work as the script writer is now complete.

Readers have told me again and again that Jellicoe, the novel, is magic for them. Always flattering and always at the back of my head as a bench mark for the next novel and the next.  This year has been about finding the magic in the script. When I say that I’ve finished working on the Jellicoe script again, it doesn’t mean re-writes per se. I tend to think of the Jellicoe editing as  “enhancement’.  Remember, that the story itself isn’t what attracted many people to the novel.  It was also Taylor’s narrative voice and the structure. In adaptation, the narrative voice is the first to go so it’s been hard work tracking Taylor’s emotional journey without the aid of voice over. But the challenge has been satisfying. I loved writing this prickly angry tough fragile girl in the script as much as I loved writing her in the novel.

One of the more important changes I’ve introduced has revolved around the Boarders.  In the novel, all the Boarders are part of Taylor’s faction, but in the script the story takes place during the school holidays and revolves around the thirty or so Boarders who are state wards and are left behind, year after year, because they have nowhere else to go. It establishes a yearning amongst them to win at something for the first time in their lives. They are the perpetual losers in the wars and in life. None of that is said, of course.  But it is visually there on their faces when their school mate are picked up by parents. It’s interesting how a scene like that can change the psyche of the script without really having to change much elsewhere.

So this is what happens now. In the New Year, the script gets sent to the funding bodies and distributors.  It’s never been so tough to make a film in this country as now,  so I’ve been told often enough that this draft has to be close to perfect. No pressure there. And then it’s not just about the script.  Films are hard to finance without a big international name.  You can’t really blame those who fund films for asking, because then you’ll have to ask yourself when was the last time you went to see a film that didn’t have a big name or when was the last time you paid to see a film with unknown Aussie actors.  I’d love to make a great film with unknown Aussie actors because I have seen so much remarkable young talent in the auditions.  I’d also love to make a great film with an international name although young international names are hard to get because they have a team of people looking after them and it’s difficult to get a script into their hands. It’ doesn’t mean we won’t try to and it doesn’t mean we’ll go for an a-lister, because sometimes an up-and-coming actor is as important and just as talented (think Jennifer Lawrence for those of you who, like me, went to see Winter’s Bone and realized she was an up and coming actor.  Very few film goers knew who she was when she was cast as Katniss).

So I haven’t lost faith in Jellicoe being made in 2015. And  watch this space early in the year because there will be some interesting stuff online to get the momentum going.

On a much more personal note, we celebrated my daughter’s birthday yesterday. It’s been exactly a year since she came to live with me.  It’s interesting that so many people have asked me whether the subject material in my writing has been influenced by having her in my life this year.  The novel I’ve completed is a thriller set in London revolving around two bombings, thirteen years apart, and the impact it has on the family of the accused. So no influence at all, but a fair enough question.

Next year I’ll speak more about the novel, but for now I’ll share this image of the birthday girl.




15 thoughts on “30th November 2014: Jellicoe (Again)

  1. Ebba from Sweden

    Hi, I just wanted to say that Jellicoe Road is my favorite book of all time and I know that you must get that a lot since well, it is amazing!! Second of all I just want to ask about how the movie is going? I just finiched reading the novel for the 3d time and I just need the movie or at least some good news about it!!! Hope your having a great day. Ebba from Sweden

  2. Sarah Smart

    Hi, I just finished reading Jellicoe Road for the umpteenth time, and I still love it! Every time I read it, I always wonder what happens with Griggs and Taylor after the book ends. Have you ever written anything about them that happens after the book ends? I would love to know what you think happens to them! I didn’t know that you have been working on a movie of Jellicoe Road, and that news just made me so happy. If it does get filmed, would it be released in the US? I’ve always really wanted to watch Looking For Alibrandi, but it isn’t available anywhere in the US. Thanks for writing such amazing stories!

  3. Pingback: Kulturåret 2014 | Atmosphere for writing

  4. Georgia Collins

    Congratulations on the beautiful pic of your daughter, a gorgeous birthday girl. Yes I agree with Ali Sullivan that the young Aussie actress up and coming Marny Kennedy would be perfect for the role of Taylor. She would bring her character alive and also add her own personality to the role which would be fantastic, she does have a huge following and has had many diverse roles in her career so far. I have followed her for the last few years and she is very talented, intelligent and has travelled the world and achieved so many goals in life at such a young age of twenty. She is also an avid reader and writer her self, check out her new blog on her instagram, amazing !!!!! She has so many following her and she is very inspirational in her writing too. Good luck with the film and I am sure 2015 is the year for your wonderful book to finally come alive on the big screen.

  5. michofthetable

    I’m a reader and a writer and this is my favorite book. Anyone who reads frequently knows how hard it is to choose a favorite but this book gets me every time. I am indescribably excited about this!!!!

  6. lovingrob

    Eeeek! SO EXCITED 😀 I really, really hope it will be made into a movie. ❤ And I love that you are writing the script. I cannot wait to know even more about it 🙂 Adore this book. ❤ And aw, happy belated birthday to your girl. ❤ she looks adorable 🙂
    Love, Carina Olsen

  7. Ali Sullivan

    Please, please, please tell me Marny Kennedy auditioned for Taylor or one of the characters! She is one of my favourite actresses and has a big online following! She could easily be the next new up and comer! I love this book so much and would love to see Marny play Taylor!!

  8. Laila N

    Oh, she’s such a doll ♥ And I see what you mean by having unknown Aussie actors vs. international stars. It’s a pity though, because Jellicoe seems like it was made for unknowns to shine… Hm.

  9. Jaron

    Your new book plot sounds like a spin off of The Piper Son, one of my favourite. Your “best books” always managed to make me cry (or very close to tearing up). Can’t wait to read this one.

  10. Georjette Mercer

    Hi Melina,
    First of all, happy birthday to your lovely daughter. And congratulations for completing the Jellicoe script, it must be so exciting! It’s amazing that such a well-loved story can be given the chance to be recreated and re-experienced – looking forward to it immensely. 🙂 I was just wondering whether a casting director is attached to the Jellicoe project at the moment, and if so, who it is?

  11. sarah

    I am both excited and nervous about the Jellicoe movie, as I am with any favourite book transformed for the screen. It’s not so much about the story changing as my visual sense of the characters changing. Jude and Narnie look a certain way, and feel a certain way in my heart, (I mention them as it was their story which touched me the most) and when that changes the story will inevitably change for me. But my concerns won’t stop me from seeing the movie! Jellicoe is on my top five favourites list, it’s such an impeccably written book.

  12. MariaCecilia

    I am beyond thrilled to hear these news. It would have been wonderful to have someone like JLaw as Taylor, but I’m sure Jellicoe Road will find it’s audience nevertheless, if the director and the casting is as good as the script. The time is ripe for YA stories of quality, and this story has it all: conflict, coming of age, friendship, romance and mystery! I believe in your talent – many do. Good luck!

  13. Brooke

    Hello Melina!! Oh wow how so so very exciting!! I think that even with a ton of pressure (by the sounds of it), you’ll have written a fabulously amazing script that will have captured the incredible story we all know and love . How wonderful to hear about your daughter! She looks like a gorgeous birthday fairy (:

  14. HOLLY

    Jellicoe Road is my favorite book of all time! I’m so excited for it to become a movie! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s