Stephenie Meyer: One of THR’s 25 Most Powerful Authors

The Hollywood Reporter released their first ever ’25 Most Powerful Authors’ and Stephenie Meyer was named among them. The following is a surprisingly lengthy interview they conducted with her on some very interesting topics.

I was going to start out giving you all my highlights of the interview, but I feel like Meyer’s words really stand for themselves and it is a great interview worth reading yourself. I especially liked that they talked to her about the process of taking her written works into film. I feel as if that is an aspect she has not been interviewed about yet, so I was pleased. Enjoy! 🙂

Below are the excerpts of the interview regarding The Host.  Read the entire interview on THR.

“THR: Did you ever think about writing the screenplay (for Twilight)?

SM: That was a question, and again with The Host that was another question that they were interested in, and I just don’t think I can abridge. I can make it longer. I can always make things longer than I intend for them to be, but cutting things down is just brutal. It’s like cutting off your fingers every time you lose a word. I know that I can’t do that, and I’m happy to have someone come in who can be a little bit more distanced from it.

THR: Were you at all scared about how The Host would translate to film?

SM: So many people had a hard time with that. The only three people I think who weren’t ever worried were me, Nick Wechsler, the producer, and Andrew Niccol, the director, because we all are like, ‘No, it’s obvious, totally obvious. You just need to have the most brilliant actress in the world and you don’t have a problem.’ And we got her, so we were really lucky. Saoirse [Ronan] is amazing. When you have an actress of that caliber, especially when not everybody knows who she is yet, I think she’s going to blow people away. And then you give her this concept role, it’s like a gift. She just loves to be able to do it and watching her — oh my gosh. There’s this one scene that has no music, it’s a close-up of her face for five minutes and you cannot look away. I mean, tears streaming down my face the first time I saw it. It was unreal.

THR: How involved have you been in the casting process?

SM: That was such a collaborative group. Nick brought me in from the very beginning. He wanted to do the movie and we got together. We kind of talked about how would you do this, and we both felt comfortable with it. Then he’s like, ‘What are your favorite science-fiction movies?’ My number one favorite science-fiction movie is Gattaca. Andrew Niccol was at the top of the list. I also really liked The Truman Show because it’s such an odd but cool concept, and Andrew wrote that originally as a thriller and not a comedy. I’d really love to see that script — someday, I’m gonna get to read that. [Nick’s] like, ‘Well, Andrew’s fantastic’ and he’d worked with him before, and Andrew wanted to do it. He’s never done an adaptation before, so that was really cool.

THR: Do you think that had Twilight not had the success it had, would The Host be as quick to have been picked up?

SM: Probably not. It is tricky. We did this as an independent movie. We did it outside the studio because studios couldn’t understand like, ‘How is this gonna work?’ It felt very simple to us and it works. I think that Hollywood kind of jumps on things that look like they’re gonna do well.

THR: At the same time, is there any added pressure to live up to that Twilight-level success with The Host?

SM: I’m sure there is. It’s not something that I have to feel pressure over. For me, they’re so different and I don’t expect anything to be like Twilight again. That was such a weird experience and to have everything be so crazy and bizarre, that’s just not normal. The fanaticism isn’t normal. So I would imagine it’ll be a much more normal experience, but I’m sure for investors and the like, they would really feel a lot of pressure to have it be just the same. I think this story is very different, I think people respond to it very differently. I don’t think it will be the same phenomenon at all.

THR: What is the most challenging aspect of getting your work adapted to film?

SM: For a lot of people it’s like getting it out there. For me, it’s the letting go of your children and letting people change them. I mean, some of it’s great because you get to appreciate, ‘Wow, that’s a new take on it that I wouldn’t have thought of ‘ and that’s really fun. But sometimes it’s just like, ‘Oh, my baby.’

THR: During your time working on The Host film, you’re also writing the sequel. How difficult was it to switch gears between working on the movie and the next book?

SM: It’s really tough. I mean, it’s such a different kind of creative expenditure. When you’re working on the movies, it’s very collaborative, there’s a lot of other people involved, and you sort of put in your two cents where you can and consult a bit. When you’re writing, it’s all you all the time and it is interesting to have the actors in the back of my head and think, ‘Anything that I write down, they may have to do. It’s a little bit more challenging to have that distraction.

THR: Now you have a face to put with these characters that is maybe different than what you originally envisioned.

SM: I really try hard not to do that. I kind of have to kick Jake [Abel] and Diane [Kruger] out of my head, and all the rest of them, and go back to the original look of the characters to help out. I’ll go back and re-read the first novel to get back into the world. I have to do that frequently because every time I get pulled away, I have to immerse myself again and so it’s a slow process to get started writing. It goes a lot faster if you can just stick to it.

THR: How far are you on the second book?

SM: Not very far. It’s been a really challenging last year. There just hasn’t been a lot of time for writing.

THR: Where do you see the story progressing?

SM: Not having written it doesn’t mean you don’t know everything that’s going to happen. I have very detailed outlines, I do a lot of outlining to the point where there’s dialogue in my outlines. The outline for this is about 50 pages long. It gets very in depth. So I know exactly what’s going to happen, There’s a lot you can do with a science fiction world. There’s a lot of exploration you can do, so there’s a lot of different directions.

THR: The first book was a hefty one. How long will the next book be?

SM: I don’t have any idea. It usually surprises me. I always think I’m going to be able to tell something in a shorter period of time than it takes me, which I’m sure is a big flaw, but I think it’s gonna be shorter than the first one.

THR: How many books do you see in the series?

SM: Three. I have a pretty good end arc in mind for it, so hopefully that will happen.

THR: And you’re planning to adapt them all to film?

SM: I think they’d like to keep going. That’s the conversation I’ve had. I think the biggest hold up is the fact that I’m writing so slow.

THR: It’s become a trend with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn, now Mockingjay, that they have all been split in two movies. Do you see that happening with The Host?

SM: They did the first book in one movie, and I think it’s probably the most complicated because once you have the set up of the world, you’re in. You don’t have to do that again. So it does streamline it. If they can get 200,000 words into one movie, I don’t think we’ll have to do it again. I’m kind of torn on the idea of it because I felt like it worked out really well for Breaking Dawn. It felt right how the movies came out. But I kind of like the idea of getting to see more detail on the last book of The Hunger Games, because you have to cut things out, so I guess I’m a fan of that.

THR: Are there any other projects you’ve got on the back burner right now?

SM: Oh there’s always so many. Just this morning I was saying to my production partner, ‘What if…’ and she was like ,‘Do not start that again.’ And I’m like, ‘But what if it was a female…’ and she’s like, ‘No! No more new stories!’ It’s easier to come up with new stories than it is to finish the ones you already have. I think every author would feel that way.”

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  • Jill

    Congrats to Meyer.

    >>There’s this one scene that has no music, it’s a close-up of her face
    for five minutes and you cannot look away. I mean, tears streaming down
    my face the first time I saw it. It was unreal.

    That sounds really cool, but I hope it’s edited to a lesser time, but not edited out.

  • Susan Payne

    I will read whatever Stephenie writes! I just find it easy to flow along with her train of thought in her story and characters. But her imagination is what keeps me coming back! She always surprises me!

  • AliSr

    Thank you for giving us the most wonderful reinforcements on human values, Christian principles & civic consciousness. We read your books & become engrossed, can not put them down. It is now obvious you have a great gift, thank you for ‘sticking’ with it even when the going was tough. I was delighted so see a preview of your new movie ‘THE HOST’ when in the theater for ‘Breaking Dawn Part 2’ – yes, I read the book & found it fascinating also. Continued success in all your endeavors. You & your family are always in my prayers…. 🙂