JAN: As many of you may know, Hallie's terrific thriller, Never Tell a Lie, has been made into a movie. And Baby Will Fall premiers at 8 p.m, Sunday night (1/23) on the Lifetime Movie Network.
Like the book, the movie is about a young married couple about to have their first baby. When they clean out their house and hold a yard sale, a classmate from high school shows up and disappears inside their Victorian fixer upper, wreaking havoc on their lives. I asked Hallie, who has seen a rough cut of the movie, what it like was like to witness her characters come to life.
HALLIE: Ivy Rose, (the protagonist) isn’t physically the way I envisioned. I thought of Ivy as tall and long-looking -- in all dimensions -- early Cher, with long dark hair. My vision of her was -- she wasn't a beauty, but she was the kind of of woman you looked at twice, because she was interesting.
In the movie version, Ivy, played by actress Anastasia Griffith,is blond. She's kind of cute, but not beautiful. I was very quickly over “but she’s a blonde" issue. Anastasia is fabulous. This actress really got the character. I felt her vulnerability and her determination not to be victim, which was what I wanted for Ivy. And her confusion. And how upsetting it all was.
And I thought the actor who played Ivy's husband, David, Brendan Fehr, was terrific, too. He’s sweet and loving and strong. And completely baffled and still he’s hiding something. I just felt the two of them and the dynamic were spot on.
JAN: How about the plot? Were there many changes?
HALLIE: The plot changed a lot. In the screenplay, they simplified, took out some subplots – which I expected. The ending is different and I’m not sure how I feel about it. But I understand why they did it. My ending was open and ambigious, leaving it for the reader to decide. There is no subtlely in the movie ending. It’s very clear who is culpable.
JAN: How about the setting, which was such an important part of the book.
HALLIE: I set the book in Milton (Massachusetts) although I called it Brush Hills. The movie isn’t set in New England. It looks like it could be New England, but it could be anywhere. They did a good job with the house, though. In the book, the house is a big Victorian. And for the movie, they used a Victorian exterior. It feels right.
JAN: What was your favorite part of the movie?
HALLIE: Let's see... that it was made. And that they nailed the relationship between Ivy and David. And how lies and distrust can poison a relationship. I thought they really got that even if they changed the title. And I like that it's very suspenseful. It really moves along and makes you want to keep watching. What I wanted in my book was for the reader say: What is going on here?And they do a good job with that. It’s quite compelling.
JAN: If you could change one thing about the movie, what would you change?
HALLIE: Maybe the interior of the house, I had a number of details in the book, like the stained glass and the window seat, that aren't in the movie version of the house. I miss the space. The house is a really important character in the book, less so in the movie.
JAN: Your parents were both famous screenwriters, and all three of her sisters, Nora, Delia and Amy are screenwriters. Did this affect your critique of the screenwriting in And Baby Will Fall, or your expectations about how the movie would be made?
HALLIE: I think that background -- everything I already knew about how movies are made, gave me low expectations. I knew that when you write a novel and you sell it, you don’t own it anymore. And unless you are Dennis Lehane, no one is going to ask what you think. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much they respected the original story.
JAN: So the author gives this film a big thumbs up! Don't forget -- 8 p.m. Sunday night, on the Lifetime Movie Channel To see a trailer or learn more:http://www.mylifetime.com/movies/and-baby-will-fall
And come back tomorrow, when I'm going to be talking about the relative importance of dreams in our novels, in our psyche and why we persist in seeing dreams as predictors of the future. And it's not too late to join the Writers' Challenge -- make sure to check in this Sunday. (check the 1/16 blog for rules)