This is a pathetic sort of update as I’ve got little to report. My desk is surrounded by piles of books I’m adapting, tottering piles of them, and I’m not sure if any of them are actually going to be screened. I seem to be drawn to wildly expensive projects – the Crimean War, Dunkirk, a big series about a women’s boarding house in the 1920s – and now is hardly the time for people to fling money at stuff like this. And though I’d love to write another novel I can’t think of one – any suggestions? So I go off and swim in the ponds on Hampstead Heath instead…hey, it’s summer.
What does seem to be happening is the movie based on my novel “These Foolish Things”, which is due to be filmed in India this October. This is my story about outsourcing the elderly to Bangalore, and John Madden (“Shakespeare in Love”) will direct it. He was slated to direct “Tulip Fever” which is still waiting for funding so at least he can do this instead, which is great. Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Prem Nivas (“Slumdog Millionaire”), Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton and various other rather fab actors are to star in it, and it’s now called “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”. I usually appear as an extra in my films so perhaps there’s a part for me as an old crone.
I didn’t write the screenplay for this, but I have written an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s “The Scapegoat” for ITV and we’ve just been recce’ing locations in Northumberland. This is the story of two identical men, one of whom takes over the other’s life, and was originally set in France but we’ve re-located it to the north of England so if anyone’s got a heart-stoppingly beautiful mansion and fancies a film crew banging about please get in touch.
Another project is a film for Rachel Weisz about a courtesan in 18th century London. I’ve always been drawn to this period and its Hogarthian setting so I’m researching this, and also limbering up to adapt Vikram Seth’s vast and marvellous “A Suitable Boy” for the BBC. God knows how I’m going to cram this into six episodes but maybe I’ll get an idea when the sun stops shining and the nights are drawing in….meanwhile have a great summer and do get in touch if you have any questions, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.