Mephisto’s Bridge



An enlightening little  mention here on where the ideas for the film ‘Hellboy 2’ came from. My novel ‘Spanky’ was turned into the film script ‘Mephisto’s Bridge’, and so very nearly got made. I’d rather director Guillermo del Toro had created an original feature rather than a comic book sequel, but the film he was persuaded to make instead turned out well. He was very fair-minded and kind to me about what happened, and I have no complaints, except that if he had gone with his first plan it might just have changed my entire career!

What if? Are words you really don’t want to think about too much. Looking back as I take stock of my recent slew of books and consider my next move, I can see how many times I very nearly had film and TV shows made from material. I don’t tend to think about it anymore, because it has ceased to be important to me. For a while, though, I was desperate to have a film made of something I’d written. Now I look at shows like the excellent ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, and realise it’s over 30 years old, because that’s roughly how long it takes to get anything based on a book filmed.

The secret to staying calm as a writer is to concentrate on the one thing you do best – writing – and let others come to you if they see further possibilities in your work. I know too many people who have spent their entire lives attempting to get their books translated into other media and going slowly mad over it.

BTW, after publishing my most recent volume of short stories (this time as an e-book, sadly, as paperback collections have died a death) my promise to film students and directors still holds; if there’s any story you want to film, you can apply to me for free single-use rights.

4 comments on “Mephisto’s Bridge”

  1. brooke says:

    “…it’s over 30 years old, because that’s roughly how long it takes to get anything based on a book filmed.”
    Perhaps it takes 30 years for screen writers, directors and producers to get it right and/or for the cycle to come round in public consciousness. The first film version of Atwood’s work was released in 1990; the book released in 1986. Atwood wrote the work during her active anti-U.S. phase–not that her sentiments have diminished.

  2. Helen Martin says:

    I’m glad to see you’ve come to a place of ease with the film question. Goodness knows we’ve said it often enough here and you’re right to say that a person should do what they do well and leave other things to other folk. We’d all like too be comfortably wealthy but as long as you’re comfortable the wealthy thing just isolates you.

  3. Wayne Mook says:

    As for films being negotiated from books I remember the late Graham Joyce saying how his novel Tooth Fairy was altered so much it should have been re-titled the jism fairy. Sometimes it’s just as well some books are not made into film when you hear what they want to do with them.


  4. admin says:

    That’s funny, Wayne, I didn’t know that. And he dedicated the book to me!

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