Monday, August 03, 2009

Spreading the Word

There was a fascinating article in The Observer yesterday, written by Vanessa Thorpe, having to do with the legacy of Swedish writer Stieg Larsson and issues surrounding the films that have been made from his suspenseful novels. I was especially drawn to comments made by Sonny Mehta of Random House U.S. He talked about how Larsson’s work became famous partly through word-of-mouth publicity among “mystery blogs” (such as The Rap Sheet).
According to Sonny Mehta, editor-in-chief of Knopf, Larsson’s U.S. publisher, a Hollywood version [of Larsson’s first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo] is on the way. “I’m certain that in the months to come people will be reading news about Stieg Larsson in Variety,” he said last month.

No deal has yet been closed, but cinema distributors in the U.S. and Britain remain reluctant to bring over a low-budget, Swedish film of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that already exists. In parts of Europe this film has pushed the second Dan Brown film, Angels and Demons, off the top of the box-office chart. But why squander the chance to make really big money by screening a subtitled version before the book receives the full treatment from a top U.S. studio?

Mehta says he came across Larsson’s work at the Frankfurt Book Fair when a friend recommended the first book. “She said it was one of the best thrillers she’d read in a long time. In no way, however, did her enthusiasm prepare me for the singular experience of the novel itself.”

Mehta adds, as well he might, that the books get better as the series goes on, and is quite open about the process by which the title went global. He placed influential “mystery blogs” online, but found he was pushing at an open door. Larsson’s Scandinavian fans were already telling English readers to look out for the book.

The lengthy feature also touches on potential conspiracy theories that have sprung up since Larsson’s early and unexpected death in 2004.
Read the full Observer piece here.


Michael Gregorio said...

There’s a rumour going around that a major Hollywood studio has already signed up Meryl Streep and Gwyneth Paltrow for a big-budget remake of “Gomorra,” too.

Reg said...

I sure hope they do better casting for Dragon Tattoo than they did for Smilla's Sense of Snow, which was all wrong! I vote for Brad Pitt for Blomkvist.