“...American Novelist...” by Julie Phillips
(Talking about why I couldn't talk about the miniseries before it was shown)
6 August 2004
I am beginning to get a lot of questions about the Sci Fi Channel miniseries "Earthsea." I am writing this in hopes of directing the people with questions to the people who can answer them. I can't.
It's a natural assumption that the author of the book on which a movie or a TV show is based gets involved in the making of the film writes the script, maybe, or is consulted by the scriptwriter, the producers, and the directors, or in some way is invited in, is part of the process.
This is seldom true. It is not the way the movie business generally works. Writers are low on the Hollywood totem pole, and most book writers are very low. "Consultation" may be an item in the contract, but it is always up to the film-makers to consult the author. As a rule, the author of the book has no input whatever on the film.
The rule isn't golden but the exception is the 1980 PBS production of The Lathe of Heaven which I was in on, consulted and included, from first dreams and talks, to script revisions, to casting, and right through shooting. This was a terrific learning experience for me. And, so far as I know, a unique experience for a novelist.
The production of this miniseries is following the more usual course. I have had minimal, long-distance contact with the producers, and no consultatory input. They sent me the script last spring, but with the express understanding that I would not talk about it.
So I will not talk about it [before the miniseries airs]. And that is all I can tell you about this production. If you want to know about it, please don't ask me, ask the people who are making the movie, or go to their web site.
I can tell you a good deal about Earthsea, but I cannot tell you anything at all about "Earthsea The Miniseries." I'm really sorry.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Copyright © 2004 by Ursula K. Le Guin