Tonight I’ll be talking to my film co-agent, who I think is going to shop WOOL around to studios and production companies. (I suppose I’ll know more about this *after* we talk). This and the offer from the BBC has me wondering just what sort of film or TV show anyone would expect to make of WOOL.
So here’s what I would do (SPOILER ALERT!):
I would only tell what’s in the first WOOL. Yeah, that’s right. If I was entrusted with writing the screenplay, I would tell the story of WOOL pretty much as it is in the book, but with longer flashbacks, more of a sense of mystery and discovery, and more with Marnes and Jahns.
Start with Holston on the stairs, walking up, sounds of children playing (fans of the books would dig this being ripped right off the page). Close up of his hand on the railing, the worn metal treads, the chipping paint, a shot of a light bulb flickering, rust stains on the wall, more squealing from above, maybe a ball goes bouncing through a railing and tumbles into space (or a paper plane, or an article of clothing).
You could even throw the intro credits (or whatever you call them) on the screen during this bit. Up in the cafeteria, Holston dodges through the kids, pan to a shot of the wallscreen, and then as he’s walking toward his office, a short flashback to his wife on the ground screaming to be let out. Holston wobbles, grabs a chair, makes it to his office. Pan to a dead body visible on the wallscreen.
Holston asks for the keys. More credits popping up. Marnes grabs them. They go to the cell; Holston locks himself inside. Asks to go out.
Cut to the mayor being told, her and Marnes, he’s not sure what’s up with him. Conversation, talk about the wallscreen, the taboos, about Allison. And after this scene, with doubt cast about the outside world, cut to the title. The film opens afterward in the past with Allison discovering something amiss in IT.
90 minutes to tell the story. Keep it short and laser-focused. Work a Juliette sighting in there with Holston and Marnes in the down deep, perhaps. (Or, after the final scene, flash to the down deep, Jules working on the generator, which is making a freaking racket, and someone nearby gossipping about the cleaning, about the sheriff being dead, and then the question: “Any idea who’ll replace him?”
Scene. Roll credits.
The rest of the story is then told on TV. Use the film to drive the show. If you miss the movie, you can still watch the serial. If you miss the TV show, you can still enjoy the film.
Anyway, that’s what I would do. If anything were to actually get done and anyone were to ask me, of course. Neither of which is likely.