A few days ago Chris Dankland left the below post in the Facebook group ‘AltLit Gossip (spread)’. Now what was seemingly a shot in the dark appears to be gaining momentum as a giant collaborative project featuring some very talented writers. I interviewed Chris to find out more about his idea.
How did the idea to novelise a movie come about/ what was the inspiration behind the project?
About a year ago I heard in this interview that at one point Sam Pink was working on a novelization for Home Alone, which I thought was a great idea—but he was saying that he hadn’t prioritized that project because it would take a really long time for one person to do it all alone. A lot of stuff can happen in a two hour movie. Novelizations have been around for decades, but I hadn’t heard of one being done as
a collective project. If 50 or more people only work on two or three minutes of screen time, it’s much easier.
I like creative projects that involve a lot of people—things like that remind me of how many interesting people are in the world. There are a lot of very imaginative people involved in this project—I’m mostly doing this because I just want to see what everyone will come up with.
I’m using the word ‘novelize’ but I’m not sure that’s really what this project is. I want to encourage people to be as creative with their submissions as they want, and to do whatever they think is interesting. If someone is bored with their scene, they can write a scene from another movie instead—people can make stuff or do something completely unrelated, I don’t care. People can livetweet their scene, or turn their scene into a comic or series of pictures, or write a poem or make a video, it’s all fair game. I hope that ‘2 Fast 2 Furious The Novel’ will come out looking more like Naked Lunch, than a written down version of the original movie.
Why this movie in particular?
It could have been almost any movie, most Hollywood movies are pretty similar to each other.
Before things got started, I let everyone make suggestions of what movie to pick, and put it up to a vote. 2F2F was the winner. Some other movies that might’ve been picked were Jurassic Park, Blade Runner, Citizen Kane. I voted for 2F2F too—I can’t speak for anyone else, but the reason I picked that one is because it seemed like the most fun to me. There’s something ridiculous happening during pretty much every single minute of that movie. Plus it’s only 100 minutes long, which means less work for everyone. I hadn’t seen any of the Fast and Furious movies until like a week ago, when someone suggested that movie for this project.
It’s also an excuse for me to play the movie soundtrack all summer, and listen to this song on infinite repeat.
Are you doing a part yourself? if so, which bit?
I cut the movie into 54 ‘scenes’ and handed them out randomly to all the people involved. My scene was picked randomly too. I got scene #23, which is around 40 minutes into the movie. The two main characters go visit Ludacris’ character, who’s sitting on a dock with a large cheering crowd, watching an illegal jet ski racing tournament. People are racing jet skis and betting lots of money on it. Ludacris keeps shouting at the jet skiers with a bullhorn saying things like ‘I got a house note on this! I need this!’
Do you have an approximate date you’d like to have this project ready for release?
I don’t have a specific release date, but I’m thinking of this as a summer project—I’d like to put it out before the fall starts.
How will this be put out once it’s finished?
I’m not sure how it will be released yet, I’m keeping my mind open about all possibilities. But I want it to be released in a quality way. I want the final product to look good, and have the largest possible readership it can. Another large-scale, anthology type writing project that I’m thinking about as a model is Jacob Steinberg’s Cityscapes, I thought he did a great job with that. If I can’t manage that, I’ll probably just cut it up into a bunch of little vials and sell it on the street, because this thing is dope.