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State of the Sanderson 2017 ()
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Brandon Sanderson

Movie/Television Updates

Mistborn and Stormlight Films

These rights are held by DMG Entertainment, and they've been very good at working with me and showing me things. They have scripts for both Mistborn and The Way of Kings, which they are actively trying to make happen in Hollywood.

One way they're approaching this is to do a Stormlight VR experience, which we've talked about before. This is less about making a video game, and more about making something to show off to studios to kind of immerse them in the setting of the books. As I determined early on, this is an interesting but weird world, and having visuals (like the art in the books themselves) helps a lot with bringing people around to understanding.

They do plan to release the VR experience to fans on Steam, for those with VR headsets. It's not intended to be a full game, as I said, more a demo of the Shattered Plains—you'll get to personally experience the Shattered Plains from the novels and interact with the characters and creatures that inhabit them. We'll do some posts on it in coming months as it gears up to be released, and I've invited the developers to do some guest posts on my blog.

Regardless of what happens on the film and television front here, at the very least you have that to look forward to!

Firefight Houston signing ()
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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.

Firefight San Francisco signing ()
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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.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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[Fancast of Mistborn Era 1]

Brandon Sanderson

For what it's worth, I love seeing things like this, but as I don't "cast" most characters with actors in my head, it's not like I can step in and say "let it be so." I do like the idea of playing with a black Ham, though personally, the big change I'd make to canon for a film would be to genderswap a character or two to get more women in the crew.

Doniac

Did the lord rulers armies have female soldiers? Wondering since Ham hung out with them quite a bit and sparred, speaking of genderbending characters.

I think the easiest character to genderbend would be Clubs. And more outside the main cast, people in the Skaa rebellion.

Brandon Sanderson

I would imagine that the LR's armies would take Allomancers of either gender quickly and happily.

Shadows of Self Edinburgh UK signing ()
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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.

Firefight Seattle UBooks signing ()
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Questioner

Do you have any word on the Mistborn video games that are coming out?

Brandon Sanderson

I have no official word, other than to say that we did option the rights to the film to the people who are making the video game, and told them, "You have to make the video game or you can't make the film." I actually really like them, and their script treatments on the film are great. And it's not their fault, really, that the game hasn't taken off. It's just that they've had - these things happen in video games. The studio they were working with went under, and another one split, and this sort of stuff happens.

Emerald City Comic Con 2018 ()
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Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Do you have in mind what actors would portray them if you ever did do a movie?

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Yes. I'm very timid about that though because early in my career, I'm like, "Oh, I want Ellen Page for Vin." But then it took way too long and there's no... she's aged out.

Questioner [PENDING REVIEW]

Simon Baker should be Kelsier

Brandon Sanderson [PENDING REVIEW]

Oh, that would be a good match. I can totally see that.

General Reddit 2011 ()
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AnalogDigit

[Mistborn] would be AWESOME cinematically, except I don't know how the internal use of the metals and their powers could be conveyed on screen.

Brandon Sanderson

The producers have some good ideas for giving visuals on those. Iron/Steel, for example, would make all sources of metal glow faintly blue on the screen while the allomancer is burning.

General Reddit 2016 ()
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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.

Barnes and Noble Book Club Q&A ()
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Zas678

My last question shouldn't be as hard to answer and that is: Who is in charge of the Mistborn movie you mentioned at the #tweettheauthor?

Thank you so much, I love your books!

Brandon Sanderson

It is a small production studio, so nobody you'd recognize. The producer is a fan of the Mistborn books who has some credentials in independent films, and who has impressed me with his treatment of the books and his determination to make the film. This individual is starting a production company to focus on the film. We're in the contract stages now, and once that is done, I can be more specific.

It's not like the Alcatraz movie, which was optioned directly by a studio. Because of that, the Mistborn movie is probably a lot less likely to happen—but, the hands it is in are quite good. Anything having to do with Hollywood is a long-shot in the first place, so (after meeting with the producer) I decided that I'd rather take the slightly more unlikely chance in exchange for the opportunity to work with someone I felt understood the books.

Google+ Hangout ()
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Google Moderator

Before we wrap up, Brandon have you got any news about movies or a Mistborn game?

Brandon Sanderson

Yes, the Mistborn video game is very much a go. The guys at Little Orbit have just been awesome. We are working together to make an excellent game, I hope. I'm working on the story. I've turned in to them an overarching story for the whole, for the game and they are taking that and building the game and level design around that and then I will come back after they've done that and actually write the dialogue for the characters that moves the story along. So the video game is a completely go, cross-platform PS3, Xbox 360 and Steam for 2013.

The movie we are pitching to studios this month, so hopefully we can get something rolling on that, I have no news other than what I posted on my blog which is we've now got a good screenplay, it's quite good and now we're trying to pitch to studios and trying to convince somebody to pick this thing up and run with it. We're really hoping that, you know, fantasy has a really good reputation right now because of the excellent Game of Thrones adaptation, and so we're hoping that people will take a look at some good fantasy properties and that we can get a film made.

Firefight release party ()
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Questioner

Is Mistborn ever going to be made into a movie?

Brandon Sanderson

Is Mistborn going to be made into a movie. I recently read the treatments by the guy who has the movie rights and I like them a lot. They are doing good work with the treatments. We sold the rights. Whether they'll get made or not is still kind of a crapshoot because this is how Hollywood works, right? So we will see, but the treatments are good. Peter can back me up on that. The first one we like a lot… So yes there is motion but I don't know how long it will take us, okay?

A Memory of Light Birmingham Signing ()
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Questioner (paraphrased)

What about the Mistborn video game?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

We put it off until 2014, because of the new console generation. We had planned for it to come out right when the buzz was saying the new consoles were going to launch. And that felt like a bad idea to us. The Mistborn film is also in the works, but it is very early and it is not nearly as far along as the Wheel of Time film is. So if anyone's father is J. J. Abrams, have him call me.

DrogaKrolow.pl interview ()
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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.

Arcanum Unbounded Hoboken signing ()
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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.

White Sand vol.1 release party ()
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Questioner

So knowing that you're not likely going to get a chance to choose your own casting in Stormlight Archive, if you did who would you choose for Dalinar and Kaladin?

Brandon Sanderson

Oh boy, choosing Dalinar and Kaladin? I have no idea. The big problem with casting Dalinar and Kaladin is neither are Caucasian, and so... Like, casting the Alethi is going to be a really big challenge for the filmmaker. Do they just be like, "Alright, we're making everybody white because we don't know what else to do." Or are they going to because-- are they going to find a bunch of half-Asian, half-Middle Eastern actors? Because that's what the Alethi would look like to us, right? And so, how do you find an entire culture of people who have those specific-- I have no idea. Maybe they'll just go with Hispanic actors for them or something like that, I don't know. I have no idea. It would depend on what they decide to do for the ethnicities. 

So something like Mistborn is easier, where a lot of characters are Caucasian, or at least have a defined ethnicity. But even the Terris, you're like, "Terris aren't Caucasian, but they're not really Asian, they're not really black. They're their own race from Scadrial. How do you cast Sazed?" And so there's been a lot of talk about that with the guy-- the people with the Mistborn rights. They're like-- They're kind of leaning toward Asian--in casting someone Asian as him. But did that-- how does that work? Because you can't always tell someone who's-- whether or not they're Terris by the look of them, and things like that. It gets really weird when you're trying to cast fantasy races and ethnicities. So we'll see.

Questioner

I just wondered if you had someone in mind?

Brandon Sanderson

I do not have anyone in mind. The only-- I occasionally have ideas for Mistborn. You know, like for a while I wanted Michael Fassbender for Kelsier, but he just did Assassin's Creed, which is too similar. So we probably can't do him. For years I wanted Ellen Page as Vin, but she's aged out of the role now. I try not to think about who we would go get until we actually are casting, right? So anyone you name, tomorrow they could do a movie that's too similar and then that's not-- they can't do the role really anymore because they're headlining something that's a direct-- yeah, anyway. 

/r/fantasy AMA 2011 ()
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alanthiana

Allomancy can be such an internal form of magic... how would you see it being dealt with visually, if Mistborn were ever to have a TV/movie version?

Brandon Sanderson

Pushes and Pulls are going to be done (if this version of the film gets made) by having metals glow blue when an Allomancer is using their powers. There will be visual or auditory cues for the other powers as well.

Shadows of Self San Diego signing ()
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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 Atlanta signing ()
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Questioner

What can you tell us about the Mistborn video game?

Brandon Sanderson

What can I tell you about the Mistborn video game. We are still working on the Mistborn video game. The same producer has the rights but the developer that we were hoping to use has fallen through and they have moved on. This is the third time we've moved to a new developer. We do not plan for it to come out this year. We keep pushing it back. I'm sorry. But the good news is the movie seems to be kind of inching forward again finally, so if the movie gets made that will push the video game to come out. And if a video game comes out that might push the movie to come out. So they are kind of intertwined and working well together.

When Worlds Collide 2014 ()
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Jeremy (paraphrased)

What's going on with the Mistborn movie, and how can I get involved?

Brandon Sanderson (paraphrased)

One of the conditions I set for the movie is that there has to be an open casting call. The film branch of Little Orbit has purchased the rights. If they complete the game within 18 months, they can renew their rights and keep working on producing the movie; otherwise, the rights will go up for sale to someone else.