Full Boyle

T. Coraghessan Boyle discusses his fat -- and fascinating -- collection of short fiction, The Collected Stories

I really loved the film of Wellville, although most people didn't. I really thought Alan Parker did a great job. It's just seeing your characters and your vision done by somebody else. It's like, you wrote the song, and somebody's doing another version of it. It's thrilling in some ways.

Generally, you hear the thing to do regarding movies is to go ahead and sell it -- take the money -- and then run away as fast as you can.

I guess that's my philosophy -- take the money and run. But you don't have to sell the rights, you know. You can have your widow throw the manuscript on your casket as they lower you into the earth. I wanted to sell the rights, I wanted to see a good movie. I believed the movie would help publicize the work, and it did.

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Are there any other films of your work in the offing?
They're going to make a movie of Budding Prospects. They've assigned a director, Peter Cattaneo, the guy who directed The Full Monty, and they've hired the writers of Grosse Pointe Blank to do it. I think that could be quite extraordinary, because it's a very strong story, and neither of those movies had a strong story. So it could all work really nicely.

I don't want to get involved, and have never gotten involved in any film projects, because it's too frustrating for the writer. You have no control over the final product, whereas you have ultimate control over every word you write. And secondly, they jerk you around -- it goes on forever.

The only film project I'm participating in is a TV show. In the works, although it's not green-lighted yet, is a show that will initially be 13 half-hour episodes with filmed versions of my short stories, and I would be the host of the show. But my only participation is to be the host -- write up a short intro, pick the music for the show, if we can get it. It's hard to sell an anthology show to TV, though, because it doesn't have continuing characters. But there are precedents -- there's Twilight Zone, there's Masterpiece Theatre, there's Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and so on. This could be a contemporary and hip version of that. It's unusual because I'm the guy who wrote the stories as well as the guy introducing them. And I would really like to do that, because it would get my stories out to a much bigger audience. So hopefully it'll go.

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