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Shadows of Self Portland signing ()
#1 Copy

Questioner

Have you been approached by anybody about making a movie?

Brandon Sanderson

Okay, "making a movie," okay, okay. *sighs* *crowd laughs* So, Holywood. Holywood! Holywood is this-- they do this thing where they option books, right? And this-- most of the deals you see, they get signed, are what we call an option. They come in, they say, "We think we might be able to get a movie made, but we don't know for sure. So we're going to rent the rights from you." Against-- Like leasing. Renting to own. Where we pay you a certain amount every year that's against a big payout, and if we ever decide to make a big payout we buy the rights outright. But until then we can rent them for like five years and pay you every year or eighteen months. These are very common in Holywood. They happen a lot. And it's-- now that I've become involved in this it's kind of interesting to me that, like, when something gets optioned it's like, "Huge news! Oh, it's gonna get made!" But one in thirty of these get made <by general>. And most of the deals you're hearing about are those. As well you'll probably hear about this deal, you'll be like, "Oh, somebody's going to make this film." And then five years later you're like, "Whatever happened to that?" Well, it was just an option deal. And I've had like ten things get optioned. Like I've sold things over and over again and stuff like that. And so yes, people have my works optioned. Nothing I've done has ever gone past screenplay except for Alcatraz, at DreamWorks Animation which went to storyboard before then they decided to kill it. So, yeah obviously you didn't get that movie. That was years ago. They made the Croods instead. *crowd laughs* No, really, I-- those were the two competing projects. So I got-- So nothing has gone past screenplay-- I have gotten a screenplay a couple times before, but the step after that is like to get a director attached, and then like, you know, then get a greenlight, or get actors attached. The greenlight is the hard thing. The only thing I know of that got greenlit recently is The Sword of Shannara, which is coming out in January I think. Everything else I know is just an option. And so, yeah. But Steelheart's at Shawn Levy's company, who did the Night at the Museum films. Emperor's Soul is at DMG who were producers on two of the Iron Man films. The rest of the Cosmere is optioned by somebody else, but they haven't announced it yet, so I can't talk about it. They're very specific about stuff like that. Legion's been optioned twice, and both people have not been able to get that made as a television show. I mean, everything's been optioned.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
#2 Copy

PatrickDiomedes (paraphrased)

I just remembered that someone asked about the whole movie deal thing, and Brandon gave a more thorough explanation.

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

What happened is that DMG, which is a Chinese company, came to him first about The Emperor's Soul, because they wanted to make stuff that has more Asian characters. And they wanted to do it in Hollywood, because Hollywood's seriously lacking in representation of Asians. So he sold that to them first, and then they called him back a couple months later asking about the entire Cosmere. At that time, Mistborn was still optioned by another group, but Brandon sold all the other stuff, and they started on The Way of Kings right away. And then as soon as Mistborn became available they bought that up, so that they had the entire cosmere. And he said that The Way of Kings is ahead right now, but Mistborn will likely be first, because it'll be easier to produce and stuff.

Shadows of Self release party ()
#3 Copy

Questioner

I guess this is a continuation of the movie stuff.  I heard that you said a lot of the stuff has been optioned.  Is anything looking better more recently?

Brandon Sanderson

Is anything looking better. The Emperor's Soul film is actually looking really sharp. That's owned by DMG who were producers on the second and third Iron Man films. And they sent a representative on the cruise with me last week *laughter* Yes, because they wanted to brainstorm with me--it was a working cruise, I was doing a writing workshop--and so we brainstormed a lot and we have a treatment that is looking very nice. A treatment is the thing you give to a screenwriter to write the screenplay. I'm very pleased with the experience with them.

And Shawn Levy's company is really good, so our chances are much better there than they have been on anything else.

General Reddit 2016 ()
#4 Copy

fireflambe

This is a slightly old comment, but is the marvel cinematic universe similar to what you envision happening with the cosmere movies? The moment that was announced the first thing I thought of was how great it would be if it followed the MCU formula.

Brandon Sanderson

well, and its popularity is part of why I think the film companies were suddenly interested in things like the cosmere. I'd like to think I presaged the MCU with what I was doing--but the truth is that Marvel and DC had been doing crossovers before I was born, so...

Anyway, I've been trying to warn readers because many are starting to wonder things like you are. Is this like the MCU? Well, it is, and it isn't. The goal of the cosmere is to take individual fantasy worlds, then--over generations--tell an expansive story about their interactions one with another.

I'm not pointing toward an Avengers style, "Your favorite characters all team up" story. The magics will interact, as will the worlds, and even some of the characters--but the story is not about a super-team.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
#5 Copy

DrogaKrolow

Few months ago we've received great news about some of your books which will be adapted into movies. So what do you think, which one is most likely to get adapted first?

Brandon Sanderson

I’ve always thought that Mistborn would be the most likely 'cause it's the easiest to translate to a film, but the people who bought the rights to the Cosmere bought everything but Mistborn 'cause Mistborn was owned by someone else. And then they bought Mistborn a year later, when it became available. So Mistborn is a year behind the others. Emperor's Soul and Stormlight have been going the longest. Stormlight is so hard. Right, we’ve just got the screenplay in and the screenplay is like *does a gesture* you know, it's like for a five hour movie or something like that. And they're like "We have to cut this down!" "Yes. Yes, we do." And that is super hard. And Mistborn is a lot easier to adapt. So I still expect we'll see Mistborn first, but who knows.

Sasquan 2015 ()
#6 Copy

Questioner

And the Steelheart film?

Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart film is owned by Fox, different company, Shawn Levy's company, 21 Laps at Fox, they are the ones who did Real Steel if you ever saw that, the Richard Matheson story, and I thought their adaptation of that was really good. They also did the Night of the Museum films, and so when they came to me asking for Steelheart, I said yes, but I only signed on that in June, so I don't know- it's only been a couple months. I wouldn't expect an update for another couple months.

We signed on Emperor's Soul in November, October of last year, so I've been able to see the progress on that one come along.

Firefight Houston signing ()
#7 Copy

Questioner 1

So, last time you were here, I know that the Mistborn movie had kinda fell through. Any other nibbles, are we gonna see something?

Brandon Sanderson

Any other nibbles? ...So, Mistborn had just fallen through last time. We did resell Mistborn, and I've seen the treatment. So, the steps to getting a film made. Start with them giving me money. *laughter* The important part. Step two is usually a treatment, this is where they take the book and they do, not a full screenplay, but kind of a ten-page summary adaptation of what they're going to cut, what they're going to add, that they will then hand to a screenwriter. Next step would be to give that to the screenwriter that they hire, who they usually have hired, and have them do a screenplay of it. Next step then, generally, is going to people with lots of money and say "Hey, will you fund this?" Conversely, they can go to people who are content-makers, like a director or the talent, so to speak, or a star, and get them attached. So, when one of those happens, it's easier to get the other ones. And then, finally, is a green light. So, you can see, we're right at the beginning again. We had gotten to the screenplay stage last time, but the screenplays were just not that great, and the people who were doing it before were just not very powerful in Hollywood. I love them, they were great guys, but they came to me very early on, and so it was a longshot.

So, the new treatments are very good. I'm hopeful for what's happening there. For other things, we have The Emperor's Soul, in works with DMG. They worked with Marvel on the Iron Man films. They're a part of the funding company for those. We have just sold Steelheart to Fox. Specifically, to the producer and director of Real Steel (which is a great film, if you haven't seen it) and the Night at the Museum movies. And then, we have one more in the works... Legion. We have a Legion television show in the works.

So, as far as I know, the Wheel of Time rights have lapsed, and there's a discussion of what to do with those now. Because the people trying to make a film of those were not able to get a film made. They should have been doing a television show all along, I know, but-- Anyway. So there we are, that's how it stands, and the video game is still kinda spinning its heels as well.

Questioner 1

So, have they optioned the first trilogy, or just the first book? How does that work?

Brandon Sanderson

With Mistborn, they have optioned the entire thing. They basically optioned the whole world. Though, the people who have The Emperor's Soul, it's very fun, because they started to go down the cosmere rabbit hole. Yes, for those who don't know, my epic fantasy books are all connected, and they're all in the same universe. And so, their guy they assigned to it, the studio exec, read the book, and he's like, "Ah, there's some references to other things." And he went and read those, and he went and read those, and now he's read everything. He called me, and he's like, "Uhhhhh...." He's flown out twice to try to get a handle on the whole cosmere thing, what they can put in, what they can't put in. They wanna have a Hoid cameo at the very least, and stuff like that. So that's been very, very fun.

Questioner 2

Will you be able to advise on these movies? Do you have any creative control at all?

Brandon Sanderson

Do I have creative control, or can I advise? Well, in several of the contracts, mostly the Mistborn and the Emperor's Soul one, I have executive producer roles. In Hollywood, executive producer is the throwaway credit, though. That's one that they pat you on the head, bring out out, let you watch, and then they give you, like, a chair with your name on it you can take home or something, I don't know. They've been very easy to work with so far, so I have confidence that they would allow me, and in both contracts we got the requirement that I can come on-set anytime I want to, not just the one time, which is good. And they've taken my advice on the treatments. I am not powerful enough to get anything more than that. You have to be, like, two levels above me before you can really get any influence in Hollywood. Even, like, Tom Clancy, when he was starting, couldn't. JK Rowling could. And people like that. So, if I can get a good film made, and it takes off, I think all future contracts I'll have more influence, but right now I'm just kind of up to what they will let me.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
#9 Copy

Questioner

So, the game Mistborn: Birthright, it's been two years now.

Brandon Sanderson

...I love the guys who were working on it, but I, if I were you, would consider it vaporware until you hear more. They've had some real troubles with their funding. They're great people who have just not been able to get the game going. They make a lot of easy, quick games for movie tie-ins, this one is *inaudible*, so it's just been a lot harder for them to get going. Again, they're fantastic people, and I hope that they'll get something going about it eventually, but I'm not gonna talk much about it until they do.

So, someone's gonna ask, the movie thing. So, Shawn Levy, owns The Reckoners, optioned that in June. He did Real Steel, the Richard Matheson story. If you haven't seen that movie, it turned out really well, with Wolverine in it. He also did the Night at the Museum films. And they're working on a screenplay. DMG owns The Emperor's Soul. They were producers on the latest two Iron Man films. They're a Chinese company, they really liked Emperor's Soul, so they came and optioned that from me. The Mistborn books are with the people who have the video game rights. We've combined those together into one right, I gave them a year to work on that. They've been very encouraging on how they're working on that, but it's Hollywood, so who knows what will happen. Legion just lapsed, so if you're uncle makes movies, tell him to make Legion, from Brandon. Stormlight is under contract, but I can't say with who yet. So, I think everything novel-wise except for Rithmatist, probably-- Yeah, 'cause somebody optioned the Cosmere. Minus Mistborn. They got really excited by this whole, "Wow, it's a shard universe" thing, which is really hot in Hollywood right now. They're a really good company, but they came to me like, "We can do Marvel with Fantasy," and I'm like, "I'm not gonna say no!" We'll see how it turns out, but that's where we are.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
#10 Copy

Questioner

Do you have any idea which book of yours might make it to the movie theaters first?

Brandon Sanderson

Which one might make it to the movie theaters first? So right now it's going to be a race because I would say that a lot of things are kind of equal footing, because most of my options that we have for films lapsed last year and then we resold them. So we're kind of starting from scratch on everything. We sold Legion again, we sold Mistborn again, and we sold The Emperor's Soul shortly before.

*crowd ooh's and aah's*

And then we sold Steelheart like on Friday. Steelheart had been optioned and they let it lapse. Mistborn had been and Legion had been, so we've got four new companies basically working on it, but every time we do this my profile as a writer has raised to the point that we get a better crowd, if that makes sense. Like the Steelheart deal I'm really excited about. I love the producer, he's the guy that did-- did you guys see Real Steel? Did you ever see that, the Richard Matheson story? The guy who did that. I loved that, I thought it was-- it was one of those movies I watched expecting it to be dumb, and it was great. But he also did the Night at the Museum stuff, and things like that, and so I'm really excited about that.

But the Mistborn script treatments are excellent, the best treatments I've gotten. What that means is that's what you write as a producer to give to a screenwriter to then write the screenplay, and then after that you get stars attached, and then after that someone finally gives you money and you make the film. So we're still a long way away, but the treatments are really good.

And then, you know, the guys who have The Emperor's Soul are super enthusiastic. They're DMG, they made the Iron Man films with Marvel, they're super enthusiastic and they went down the cosmere rabbit hole. They bought it and then they're like, "who is this--" let me see this deleted scene about this guy named Hoid. So I gave it to them and they're like, "wait a minute", and they started reading everything. And so they've come back to me and they're like "sooo, um, the Sanderson cinematic universe..." So I don't know what's going to happen with that, but there's lots of discussion about things like that. And they've been talking to the Mistborn guys, and so--

But this is all very new, meaning we're at the preliminary stages of all of it. There's like, nothing I can officially even announce other than "These people have bought these rights, these people have bought these rights". Maybe we'll get something made eventually. I've gotten really close before and it hasn't happened so, who knows.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
#11 Copy

Brandon Sanderson

To forestall the other inevitable questions. Movies have been sold for: Mistborn, Emperor's Soul, and Steelheart. They are all in development, none have started filming. Be skeptical of any film deal until someone starts shooting a camera, okay? Right? Just be aware of that, when something starts filming, you can get excited. Until then, just know that people are paying me lots of money to not make movies from my books. *laughter* Which is very nice.

The video game's kind of just in limbo. The guys who are working on it--there's a Mistborn video game--they're great, but they had setback after setback. So I would, if I were you, not hold my breath on that one. Maybe it'll happen, maybe it won't. If it does it's a happy surprise.

Sasquan 2015 ()
#12 Copy

Questioner (Paraphrased)

Do you ever plan on writing a sequel to The Emperor's Soul?

Brandon Sanderson

The first one turned out so well, and it's one of those things that you kind of-- Like I didn't expect-- Like sometimes you're amazed at how well something turns out. I wrote that mostly on the flight home from Taiwan. It wasn't anything I was planning to write. I was inspired by my trip to Taiwan. I sat down, and I lived in Korea for two years, so I was kind of familiar with some of the culture, tojang, the stamps, and things like that, and so I ended up writing a story. It turned out so well, that it feels like it's one of those things that may not need a sequel. Does that make sense?

There's some things that are just better by themselves. *laughter* So we'll see. If the right inspiration strikes. I'm not planning one right now, though, for those of you that have read it, there is-- we have sold a movie option on it.  

*applause*

So a movie option on Emperor's Soul, how would you do that? The producers are working very closely with me, and I'm working on the treatment , and I'm very excited. In fact, [Matt Hughes?], are you in here somewhere? The producer of it flew up from Hollywood, because he wanted to see WorldCon. So he's skulking around WorldCon for the first time. But yeah, so you might see a film.

Shadows of Self San Jose signing ()
#13 Copy

Questioner

I was wondering if there was any update on the movies, similar to video games?

Brandon Sanderson

The movies are moving along better. They're taking some time, but they are moving along better. I think, right now the farthest along are going to be Steelheart and Emperor's Soul. 

Questioner

Okay. Are they like in production right now?

Brandon Sanderson

No. They are in screenplays. So, yeah, nothing's really gotten done.

Questioner

Are you writing the screenplays?

Brandon Sanderson

I'm writing the treatments.

Questioner

Okay.

Brandon Sanderson

I don't want to write the screenplays but I can do the treatments.