Hi everyone –
I have been getting a LOT of mail lately from people wanting to know if there are any updates on the Spy School Movie. And i realize that a lot of the posts about the movie are quite old — because this process has been going on for a very long time. So some of the questions I’m including are the same ones I answered before, but maybe this post will become a one-stop point for learning about the movie.
Can you please give me an update on what is going on with the movie?
Sadly, there are none. I turned my last draft into the studio on January 31, 2020. As of this date, that was 10 1/2 months ago. I have not heard a things from Disney since. Part of this is due to COVID. Few companies have been hurt as badly by the pandemic as Disney. But still, this is an insanely long time to wait for an answer. I know you are frustrated that things are stalled, but trust me, no one is as frustrated by this as I am. In addition, my agents are frustrated and angry too. I wish I had a better update for you, but I don’t.
So does this mean the movie isn’t getting made?
I really don’t know. I suppose there is still a chance that Disney might make it. And if they say no, then I can take it to another studio to see if they will make it. But for right now, all I can do is wait to see what Disney has to say.
Is the movie going to stick closely to the book?
That is my plan. I have written three drafts of the screenplay. So far, it stays close to the book, although since it is a movie and not a book, I have made some changes. They’re not huge, and some might be quite funny, but they were necessary.
Will there be sequels based on the other books?
Ideally, but that depends on how the first movie does. There is a slight chance that, if Disney loves the script, they will decide to move ahead with a sequel before the first movie comes out, but I wouldn’t count on that.
Is the movie going to be live action or animated?
Are you going to do just one book for each movie, or combined books into one movie?
The idea is to do one book per movie.
If the movie does get made, when is the absolute earliest that the movie come out?
If the movie was given the go-ahead tomorrow, it probably couldn’t start shooting for several months, and then that would take a few months, and then it would have to be edited and scored and such so… the very earliest would probably be 18 months from now — and that’s a best case scenario. Don’t expect anything until 2022, if not later.
Is it going to be released in theaters — or could it show up on Disney Plus?
Personally, I would love for it to be released theatrically — so that’s what we are shooting for. But the fact is, Disney needs a lot of content for Disney Plus, so that remains an option. (Also, if it was made for Disney Plus, there is a chance that sequels could be started earlier.)
Are the characters going to look the same as I imagine them?
Probably not. Because I have no control over how you imagine the characters. You may have noticed that I don’t describe the characters in much detail in my books. I leave a lot to your imagination. Personally, I hope that the casting director selects the best possible actors for the roles and doesn’t get hung up on looks. (You might have noticed that I never describe the ethnicity of many characters, including Ben, so personally, I’m open to most of them being any ethnicity.) Anyhow, the chance of an actor or actress looking exactly like the way you imagine the character is virtually nonexistent. So don’t get upset if the actors don’t look exactly as you’d hoped.
But you’re going to release a graphic novel in 2022. After that, won’t we know what the characters look like?
No. You will know that Anjan, the artist of the graphic novel, thinks the characters look like. But that doesn’t mean that is what the characters have to look like.
If the movie does film, can I be in it? I’m really good at acting. Maybe you could tell the casting director about me?
Honestly, I won’t have any say in casting at all. I know that might sound wrong to you, but here’s the best explanation I can give:
Actors are hired by casting directors. That is the casting director’s job, and they train for years to do it. So, if I were to call a casting director and say, “Hey, you should consider this kid for the movie,” that would be like the casting director coming up to me and saying, “Hey, would you mind if I wrote a chapter of your book for you?” The casting director has their job. I have mine. It is not cool for me to try to tell them how to do their job.
Thus, I have no idea if there will be an open casting call or when that would even happen. My bet is, it is unlikely. If there is an open casting call, I will post about it on this blog.
Could you write to me personally and let me know if there is open casting?
Er…No. I get asked this a lot and, not to sound like a jerk, but I have a lot to do. Emailing every one of the thousands of kids (and a lot of parents) who has asked me to contact them directly would take me weeks. I do not have time to do that. I have books to write.
All right. That’s the info I have right now. Again, I really, really wish I had more of an update. Hopefully, I will have more news soon.
In the mean time, stay safe, have a happy holiday, and keep on reading.