The script wouldn’t accept defeat. It kept calling out from the drawer into which it had been flung and whispering in Robert’s name, “Grandson, mine is too great a story for you to leave it untold!”
For years it remained in its solitude, interrupted only by its demand to become an epic motion picture, until one day in 1999, Charles Randolph Bruce found himself alone with the story and time to devote to its telling. His partner in life and in business was away for an extended period of time and Charles telephoned her to discuss his yearning to pick up the script and forward the project. Without contacts within the motion picture industry, the couple knew there was little chance of having the script read, much less produced.
“Why don’t you write a novel instead of a movie?”
“There are already books about King Robert.”
“But none like the one you would tell.”
He agreed to think about it, and within days he called to tell her that he had written a chapter or two. Would she read what he had and tell him what she thought?
Carolyn Hale Bruce would, and did, and told him she thought it was very well done, and would he like for her to edit it for him?
“If it’s so good, why does it need to be edited?” he asked.
They laugh about it, now, having together written three novels about the Scots hero, covering his reign from its beginning in early 1306 through the great battle at Bannok Burn in June 1314. Since publishing the first book, Rebel King, Hammer of the Scots in 2002, the couple have traveled all over the country except the Far West, meeting fans and signing their books at Scottish and Celtic events in the states of Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Via their journeys and the Internet, their books have been purchased by tens of thousands of readers in all fifty states and several foreign countries… including Scotland.
Still… there was the lingering notion of a movie, over the years grown to a series of movies, to tell the story of the noble medieval king and his countrymen as they struggled against impossible strength while fighting to reclaim their nation’s freedom from its grasping southern neighbor.
We contracted with Ian Alexander Bruce to write a screenplay based on our first book. You can’t sell a movie without a viable script to present to the powers that be. So Ian went to work to produce what we consider a well-written screenplay of the story told in the first novel in the Rebel King series.
Then one day, a man called to say how much he enjoyed the books and that he wanted to help get more attention for them, and we found that the guy could call anybody on the phone and actually get through to people in high places! After a relatively short while, we were amazed at his ability to contact decision makers. We decided this might be the way to get our initial introduction to filmmakers.
“Warner Bros.,” he called and said, “likes the script. They want to know which actor you think would be good to play the king.”
Well, we had thought about that for years, even running a poll on the RebelKing.com website to see which of a half dozen actors our readers most liked in the role. The overwhelming percentage voted for Gerard Butler, a native Scot with the right physical build and a beautiful Scottish accent.
So, we said Gerard Butler would be our first choice.
Well, came back the word, Gerard Butler was at the time so popular, and he was so busy, and so expensive… would we consider a lesser known but up-and-coming actor of about the right build whose name was Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
To which we said, “Who?”
So we did some research and found out that Jeffrey Dean Morgan was an American actor who had done several Hollywood movies, like Watchmen, and P.S. I Love You, and had performed in a continuing role on Grey’s Anatomy television series.
Well, we couldn’t get Butler, and Warner Bros seemed to want Morgan…
Great! We were told we would soon receive a contract for a twelve-month option on “the property” (that’s Hollywoodspeak for the screenplay… and some other stuff), which would entail a nice sum of money to keep the author funded for a while, and for one year the screenplay would await action by them.
Then the paperwork didn’t arrive, and it didn’t arrive, and it was getting later in the year, and we were told it would be sent after the holidays, which meant a wait of at least another six or so weeks… for free, of course.
After the holidays the contract still didn’t come and our “agent” was calling regularly to see what the holdup was, until one day they said, “We are not interested in this project and don’t call us anymore!”
At this point, we had to drop back and punt…
To be continued…