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Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Post by Phillipa Ashley: How Filming Was Different From Expected

How filming was different from expected
By Phillipa Ashley
Wish You Were Here is my second book published in the US by Sourcebooks. The first was called Dating Mr December published in November last year. Both it and Wish You Were Here have been Top 20 Romance bestsellers this month – yes, people have been reading a book about Mr. December in June!
Dating Mr. DecemberIn 2009, Dating Mr December was made into a Lifetime movie called ‘12 Men of Christmas’ and Martha asked me how the filming of the movie was different from what I expected.  Well the first thing is, I didn’t expect my book to become a movie at all! Most authors dream about it but I never imagined it would actually happen.

In October 2007, the novel was optioned by Fox. Someone told me that only a fraction of movies optioned actually get made into films so I got on with writing my other books. Finally on May 27 2009, I got an email telling me that the book was going to be the flagship holiday movie on Lifetime. I almost fell off my office chair...

In July 2009, I took my family to the Rockies to visit the set and meet the cast and crew. Our daughter had just finished her degree and had the whole summer off so we took the chance to enjoy a unique experience as a family.

So what were the differences? Well, first the movie is set in Montana but was actually filmed over the border in Alberta. Coming from a small island like the UK, where our highest peak is 5,000 feet, we were blown away by the landscape.

Although my book is set in England, the premise of my book: big city PR exec moves to a small town, translated very well to the US. For London, substitute New York, for the Lake District, substitute the Rockies.

The film is very much a romantic comedy whereas my novel has more emphasis on the romance. In a book, there’s more time to explore the emotions, feelings and thoughts of characters. In romantic comedy, the funny stuff leads! 

The producer/writer did come up with some great lines that I wish I’d thought of. He also kept some of my dialogue and hearing that was totally surreal. The plot was changed quite a bit but it was still recognisable as my story.

The main thing I would have liked to see more of was the motivation of the hero, Will, which is crucial to the plot and characters in my novel. But again there isn’t a lot of time to delve deeply into emotion in a short movie.

Lots of people have asked if my other books are going to be made into films and it would be fantastic to see Wish You Were Here on screen. Wish You Were Here is set in Corsica, which would make a spectacular setting for a film with its bone-white beaches, crystal seas and lush mountains. I do like to imagine who would play Jack, the hero. He could be played by an American actor as Jack has been working in the US for several years and has a ‘transatlantic’ accent. 

The heroine, Beth, is a warm-hearted, outdoorsy young woman who puts her family above all else. She’s blond in my book and I don’t really mind who would play her. If anyone has any ideas, please suggest them!
Here is a quick fun trailer form the movie.
Check out my review and ARC giveaway of Wish You Were Here.

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