Behind the Scenes with Joel
More than any character that I’ve ever written into my novels, people ask me when Marcus Ryker is going to hit the movie screen. Great question! As someone who started making my own short movies at eight years old and eventually went to film school, I would love to see Marcus on the silver screen, bigger than life.
We’ve had numerous movie offers over the years. Early on, Bruce Willis expressed interest in The Last Jihad. That never panned out, maybe because “Yippee-ki-yay” just wouldn’t sound right coming out of Jon Bennett’s mouth. There actually was an option deal for that first book, but in the end the timing wasn’t right. There was such hostility in Hollywood at the time against the Iraq War that no matter who the story came from, no one would touch it with a ten-foot pole.
Several years ago, we had a very interesting discussion with producers for the J. B. Collins series (The Third Target, The First Hostage, Without Warning). Their idea looked not to the big screen, but the little screen. They were thinking of a series or miniseries for broadcast television or one of the streaming services. Something like that would be ideal.
The appetite of the streaming services (Netflix, Prime, Apple TV, etc.) is almost insatiable. They have tens of billions of dollars of development money, and they are constantly using it to create content. The objective of the streaming services is to create so much interesting, compelling, watercooler-worthy programming that you have to subscribe to their service or you’ll feel left out. They’re not worried about making a profit on every project; they just need to keep putting out new material. It’s a very different game than the Hollywood studios are playing with their classic silver screen model. It’s also the best environment I’ve ever seen for writers and storytellers to get produced.
While the clamor has been for Ryker to get on-screen, the book that is currently under option doesn’t come from any of my series. In fact, it is my one stand-alone work of historical fiction, The Auschwitz Escape. This makes me very excited, because it is truly my favorite of all the books I’ve written. It was the most painstaking to research and the most painful to put on paper. I would love with all my heart to see this story of one of the greatest escapes in human history turned into a limited series on Netflix or one of the other services.
Will Marcus Ryker or J. B. Collins or any of the other heroes of my books come to a screen near you? It’s hard to say. Just know that we are always on the lookout. And if you happen to know a big-name producer who is looking for a great story, you know where to find me.
—Joel C. Rosenberg