Paint It Black THE MOVIE News, Panel

I’ve just heard some terrific news about the release of Paint It Black–written and directed by the indefatigable and multitalented Amber Tamblyn,  We can’t announce the details for a few weeks , but yes, it’s going to debut, and sooner rather than later. Stay on the line.


Recently  heard Amber speak about her experiences adapting the book on a panel at the big Associated Writing Programs Convention held this year in Los Angeles. She was great on the panel–with Graham Moore (The imitation Game), Robert Jacobs (Chocolat, Shipping News), Nick Kazan (Reversal of Fortune, for one).  She holds her own and then some.  While  Paint it Black is her first adaptation,  she alone on the panel had gone on to direct the adapted screenplay. Her perspective brought unique dimension–she’s so clear and warm and insightful.

It was downright surreal to sit in the audience listening to her talk about her experiences adapting my book!  Like being in a Charlie Kaufman movie. This is not my beautiful life…

I know what it was like for me to see the film adapted–an entire cycle of emotion–but a whole other trip to hear about Amber’s experience.  She talked about her approach to the adaptation, “It was about preserving the emotion I felt when I first read it. I knew I couldn’t do everything, I would have to pick what I wanted to emphasize, and for me, it was the relationship between the two women.  It was mesmerizing.  And how to give you that same feeling.”

And she talked about the second ‘adaptation’ of the book as it moved from screenplay to film, something I hadn’t even thought about. “Often emotionally you can accomplish something in a gesture that needed a whole scene in the script,” she said. “And then editing  is like a third adaptation.” She talked about shooting a scene between Josie and the singer Lola Lola. “It was fantastic. But in the editing room, it just didn’t fit anymore.  I tried a million ways to get it in. The editor said, ‘you know, you’re just not going to be able to save it.’ I was sure I could, but eventually, he was right. It just didn’t work anywhere.”

I know exactly what that’s like. I remember writing Ingrid’s backstory in White Oleander–about six pages. I loved that piece, but wherever I put it in, it stopped the book cold.  In film that goes 100x, because it moves so fast, there’s no room for anything that stops it–a film like this is a freight train, you have to go with it.

You’ll see.


18 Responses to “Paint It Black THE MOVIE News, Panel”

  1. Rick Modien Says:

    Janet, what you said in your second to last paragraph means a lot to me, as I go through yet another round of edits on my first novel. Good to hear we all struggle with cutting pieces we know are terrific but just don’t fit.

    I can’t wait to see “Paint It Black,” the movie.

  2. Antonette DeVito Says:

    Can’t wait!!! Much love.

    Toni DeVito


  3. So nice to read a little about the adaptation process (I’m sure there are a zillion more details). Often we love an author’s work but never see it presented on the big screen. I’ll watch for this film debut and think about your post.

  4. mcchackett Says:

    I can’t wait to see this!!! I have been waiting since the publishing of the book (which I adored, as you know). So so so so many best wishes. You deserve all the success and more!

  5. Can’t wait to see it, Janet! Amber has such a nice presence. How fortunate that she got to work on this project with you. It’s sure to be a success! All best to you both. 🙂

  6. Carole Taub Says:

    How thrilling for you to watch the (near) unveiling of the film, Janet. Book was fantastic…read it twice. Am looking forward to seeing Josie’s character portrayed, and by whom?? Huge congrats!

  7. Fascinating story, Janet! It sounds like her heart is so into getting the adaptation just right. Movies are just like books- all in the edits… I cannot wait for the release. Congratulations!

  8. So looking forward to it.

  9. I’m so pleased the movie crew treated you and your book so well. This blog post was especially inspiring as I’d just finished watching yet another good Netflix series in its entirety (no commercials!) When you watch a good story (6 to 14 episodes) and when the series gets renewed, it’s like enjoying book sequels. And so much more can be done than in a 1.5-2 hr. movie, I think a promising future for writers of really good stories lies there. Opinion?

    • They’re two different creatures–I think a miniseries is a very novelistic medium, beginning middle and end. I think an ongoing tv show doesn’t shape the material in a same way… but some excellent work being done. I think a feature film is it’s own kind of art form, so never replicates a book, but jumps off from it. Thanks for the insightful question!

  10. P.S. Janet… the “City Drug” came up as my moniker in my comment, above, for some reason… but I’m Jo Ann Rancall, Scott’s mom.

  11. Excellent! Can’t wait to see the adaptation 😀

  12. beverly trainer Says:


  13. […] Fitch shares what it’s like to have your novel turned into a movie — in this case, Paint It Black, directed by Amber […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: