Gary Ross has written a children book called Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind. In this article from Publishers Weekly, Gary discusses how writing this story came about.
According to Publishers Weekly :
Usually, it’s the book that spawns the movie. But in Gary Ross’s case, it was a 1996 movie that spawned his children’s book, Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind (Candlewick, Nov.). WhileBartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind is Ross’s first published work, his previous work is quite familiar to booksellers: Ross is the director of such popular movies as Pleasantville and Seabiscuit. He also wrote the screenplay with Suzanne Collins and directed last year’s blockbuster hit, The Hunger Games, the first of three movies based on Collins’s bestselling YA dystopian trilogy.
“A friend [director David Koepp] was doing a movie [The Trigger Effect],” Ross explains. “He needed a character to read a bedtime story for a child.”
In response to his friend’s dilemma, as he wanted an unpublished book to work with, Ross wrote a few stanzas of a tale about a boy who wants to fly so badly that, when a huge wind blows past his window one night, he grabs his bedsheet and soars off into the night sky.
“[Actress] Elisabeth Shue read it in the movie,” Ross recalls. Ever since the movie’s release 15 years ago, fans have inquired in various forums how they could purchase the book from which Shue read.
“But the book did not exist,” Ross says. And there were no plans for him to complete the manuscript—until he started filming a “little movie” called The Tale of Despereaux and met Candlewick’s publisher, Karen Lotz.
“I showed it to Karen,” Ross says. “She said she’d love to publish it.” So Ross wrote the 96-page book completely in verse. Writing the narrative in verse comes naturally, he says, because he’s always enjoyed reading and writing poetry. He cites T.S. Eliot as one of his favorite poets, and enjoys reading Shakespeare. In fact, he says, even though it “didn’t happen all the time,” there were some days when he forgot he was writing in verse, the story flowed so naturally.
While Ross has no plans to quit his day job in the film industry, he says he greatly enjoyed writingBartholomew Biddle and describes the writing process as “rich and satisfying,” even more satisfying, in some ways, than screenwriting. “In screenwriting, you are building the foundation for the movie,” he says. “Writing a book, you are speaking directly to the reader.”
Asked whether he’s enjoying himself, being surrounded by booksellers,who aren’t exactly renowned for their glitz and glamour, Ross says with a laugh: “Everyone is here because they love books. In a media-based culture, it’s exciting to see so many people who love books, who read books. There’s something very tangible here.”
Bartholomew Biddle and the Very Big Wind will be released on November 13, 2012.