Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hallie's book becomes a movie!

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:

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)


  1. So exciting, congratulations Hallie! Hope it brings you many more book sales too...

  2. Thanks Roberta--I hope so too! Which gives me a chance to say: ...and makes everyone want to run right out and read my new book coming out 3/23: COME AND FIND ME.

  3. Yeah, Hallie. Congratulations! I'm so excited for you. It's a particular thrill to watch one's words come to life spoken by real people. And I'm so glad they were true to the story.
    I'll be watching on Sunday.

  4. This is SO EXCITING! I can't wait to see it. Did they keep you up to date on anything as it was happening or was it just - this is it! Will your publisher be reissuing with a different cover/title for the next print run?

  5. Yay, Hallie!! I'm SO over the top excited--it's just so terrific!!! Hurray hurray hurray...I'd put more exclamation marks if it didn;t lok so geeky.

    Good question Ro, will there be a new cover??

    COME AND FIND ME-which is suspenseful and wonderful and SO different--would make a great movie, too...have they called you yet?

  6. Thanks, Rhys! Hey, Ro - I haven't heard that they are. And as far as I know the novel's name stays the same.

    Oh, Hank, from you mouth... I'd love to see the new book turned into a movie, too. It's available!

  7. Can't wait until Sunday, Hallie. You seem very accepting of the changes they made in the movie version. I hope I won't be sitting there fuming! Many congratulations.


  8. I am a big Brendon Fehr fan...have been ever since Roswell. He's just so interesting and always seems to be a bit mysterious and brooding. And it's great the screenwriters haven't totally rewritten your book. What strikes me is that your vision of the heroine and the actress used didn't mesh, but that it works anyway. When I read John Grisham's The Client, his description of the protagonist made me conjure up Kathy Bates...and the film starred Susan Sarandon! Quite a shock for my mental assumptions. But...Kathy Bates now plays an attorney on TV. And she's marvelous. And once I got used to Susan Sarandon, the movie was not bad. I'll definitely look for Come and Find Me!

  9. It works the other way, too, Maryann..I wrote all the TIME books picturing Rene Russo as Charlie. Sometimes it just helps to see a face in your mind, and you can hear them saying the words.

    My new book, I'm envisioning Annette Bening.

  10. MaryAnn,
    Don't worry that Hallie didn't envision Ivy as a blonde, because as I told her yesterday -- I always did. I was in Hallie's writers group during the first draft of this book and apparently IGNORED all her physical references to Ivy, so that I could imagine her as blonde.

    Maybe I should be a screenwriter?


  11. Oooh, Annette Bening. That would be so fabulous, to have her act ANY character you'd written.

    So now I'm realizing for the book I'm writing I am imagining the character as one of my daughters. Adorable, of course. But I haven't really described her (except for the tight jeans).

  12. It's hard when you love-love-love a character in a book. They've never ever done a descent Anne of Green Gables - every actress is cute or beautiful, and Anne was so not.

    I just watched Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and thought Noomi Rapace was perfect in the role. I wonder if the remake will be as well cast.

  13. Hallie, this is so wonderful -- I'll be at my Dad's and actually have access to a TV! Looking forward to watching it, I loved the book.

  14. Congratulations, Hallie! I'll plan to tune in Sunday night.

    I enjoyed the book and its message about the corrosive effect of secrets/dishonesty. Can't wait to see it on screen.

    Brenda B. in Maine

  15. Hallie, congratulations!!! I'm setting my DVR!

    I agree with you about the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I loved the casting of both the main characters. They seemed so real. Will be interesting to see it "Hollywood-ized."

  16. Can't wait, Hallie, and you know I'll be watching, trying not to be too critical if it isn't the film I envisioned. ;) I admire your acceptance, though. I agree about the character, the house, as you made it live and surround us with its mystery.

  17. Wow, that is fantastic! The novel was great, and I can't wait to catch the movie. Congratulations, Hallie!

  18. Very exciting. So many books get sold to the movies, so few actually get made. The Famous Author and I will be huddled around the TV watching. Yay, Hallie!

  19. I thought Noomi Rapace was fantastic as Lisbeth Salander...I really hope Hollywood can measure up :o)
    Hank-Annette Bening is one of my favorites (despite being married to Warren) I've got my characters all pictured as well. Just hope I can get the book published before they get too old to play them in the movie :o)
    Congrats again Hallie!

  20. Julia Spencer-FlemingJanuary 20, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    This being Maine, I'm sending hubby off to the hardware store for extra strings and dixie cups so we don't miss it. Wowzir!

  21. Congrats, Hallie! I just set my DVR. I can't wait to see it. Here's hoping the movie is such a hit the publisher re-releases your book.

    Its funny how we picture famous people for out characters. Wow, Hank, I can so see Rene Russo as Charlie.

    P.S. I guess today is my day off from the challenge because I didn't write yet. But I do have an two hours and fifteen minutes left to try and get my writing in today.

  22. Since I live in the Stone Age without cable, I'll have to invite myself to my mother-in-law's on Sunday.

    The advantage of havoing a movie that's not the same as the book is you give folks who liked the movie a reason to get more in the book.

    There's probably a better link, but here's one to the Patriot Ledger's article this week on Hallie & her movie: