How my first novel became a film
It’s a tale right out of Hollywood.
Within days of ZigZag hitting bookstore shelves in June 1999, I got an early-morning fax from my London-based agent. Hollywood writer David S. Goyer had found the novel while browsing in a Los Angeles bookstore. By the time he finished the book that night, he had decided he wanted to make a film. (David has since been part of the creative force behind Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, two of the most commercially successful films in history.)
Over the next 18 months, David optioned the novel with his own money ($10,000), wrote the screenplay, pulled together the cast and crew, and secured financing from Franchise Pictures. As a first-time novelist, I was just along for an amazing ride. David had a tall order: adapting and then selling a first-person narrative about an autistic, 15-year-old African American kid.
In record time by Hollywood standards, David was able to scrape together a budget of about $3 million with cast and crew all agreeing to work for minimum union scale. I even took a cut from my fee to get the movie made. And based on their work together on the Blade films, David was able to get Wesley Snipes to portray ZigZag’s abusive father.
In January 2001, filming began on location in Los Angeles. David shot the entire film in 29 days. And yes, I was there for most of those magical days as I watched my characters come to life. I even got two cameos in the film, at Singer’s workplace and in the topless club. Hint: I’m the one with the platinum hair.
Shooting wrapped in late February and post-production concluded in July 2001. ZigZag premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin in March 2002 and played in selected cities in June 2002. In July 2002, the film was released on DVD and video.