Alongside familiar entertainment royalty – JK Rowling, Stephen King and George RR Martin – a new report from the Hollywood Reporter calculates that EL James, Paula Hawkins and Patrick Ness have become three of the most powerful writers in Hollywood.
The magazine’s 25-strong list of authors is topped by Harry Potter author Rowling, who wrote the screenplay for the forthcoming film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, and has television series based on both her Cormoran Strike thrillers and her first adult novel The Casual Vacancy coming up, as well as the sellout play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
King comes in second place, with the magazine citing him as Hollywood’s most adapted author ever and highlighting the February release of the film adaptation of his Dark Tower fantasy series, starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey, which will also have a companion TV series.
Martin, who told the magazine that his Game of Thrones series “might need a feature to tie things up, something with a feature budget, like $100m (£76m) for two hours. Those dragons get real big, you know”, is in fourth spot – behind James Patterson in third. Patterson is the highest-paid author in the world, earning $95m in 2015 alone.
Fifty Shades of Grey author James comes in in fifth place. The trailer for the film adaptation of James’s novel Fifty Shades Darker received 114m views on the day of its release, and her telling of the same story from Christian Grey’s perspective – titled Grey – was the second bestselling book of last year. James, a producer on the films, told the magazine that the success of her erotic writing should be “a wake-up call to film-makers that there is a vibrant, fervent community of women that is undeserved by Hollywood at the moment when it comes to commercial, sexy love stories.”
Romantic fiction writer Nicholas Sparks, formerly a stalwart of the Hollywood Reporter’s list, fails to make the top 25 this year. Instead, English writer Neil Gaiman comes in ninth, cited for the forthcoming TV adaptations of Good Omens, the novel he co-wrote with the late Terry Pratchett, and of his novel American Gods. Canadian author Margaret Atwood is in 16th place, with TV adaptations of her novels The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace coming up.
Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, is new to the list in 19th place, while Room author Emma Donoghue is in 22nd, and Ness in 24th. Ness’s film adaptation of his novel A Monster Calls is out in December.
Howie Sanders, UTA partner and co-head of the book department, told the Hollywood Reporter that “the demand for creators and underlying material has never been stronger” in Hollywood.
“Hollywood is rife with jokes about writers – and the punchline of all of them is how powerless they are,” said the magazine. “But as this list of the 25 most influential authors in entertainment proves, no one in the industry is laughing any more.”
Written by: Alison Flood
Thursday 29 September 2016