This month’s book was too LGBT for TV…
October 3rd sees the release of Due Date, but as with many BAMs, the story was originally meant for TV…
In the summer of 2007 or thereabouts, I was told that one of the UK broadcasters (I’m going to say ITV, but I might be wrong) we’re looking for stand-alone hours of drama. The budgets weren’t going to be high, but this is Britain we’re talking about; we make hours of television for less than the average American multi-cam sitcom… Scratch that, we make television for the budget of a mid-range American webseries.
Getting off topic. Point is, there would be maybe $150,000 or thereabouts to play with, so it had to be small, self-contained to a degree, minimal cast and so on.
So, I pitched Due Date, the plot of which is surmised as such for the book-version:
This week is going to turn Nina’s life upside-down.
Returning home from work, she discovers her door ajar, signs of a struggle, and her pregnant wife, is missing.
The kidnappers call. Issue a ransom, and she gives in to their demands, follows their instructions to the letter. But it becomes increasingly clear that this kidnapping isn’t about the money, isn’t about her or her partner.
It’s about the impending due date.
This seemed to garner attention, to the point that I had meetings and everything, wrote up an outline, then a treatment, then a full blown script. At which point, the questions started coming. Not about the plot, but about the subject matter. Specifically;
“Do they *have* to be gay”?
“They don’t *have* to be,” I told them, “But why should they *have* to be straight?”
They did not have an answer to this, and asked a different, albeit almost identical question.
“What if… they were a straight couple?”
A sigh. Long and loud, accompanied by an eye-roll that was so theatrical it might as well have been audible, with a chorus line of eye-rollers bursting into the room behind me, rolling their eyes to the beat of my incredulous heart.
If I were a better person – or more accurately, one more interested in money than story – I’d have probably taken the note and changed it up to be a boring straight drama, about generic straight people having their dull little straight baby-in-wife’s-belly, cis-kidnapped.
But I’m not, obviously.
The point of the story, the characters, everything, was how a woman might react to the situation. There’s no burly man being manly, punching and fighting his way to a solution, with his testicles flailing in the wind, leaving a stench of testosterone in his wake. It’s a more interesting story, because it’s not just another Taken clone. How many of these kinds of thriller stories are about women – let alone homosexual women – doing what needs to be done for their family?
Anyway, the point is that once again I did not get a screen credit because of my own self-sabotage.
But on the other hand you get to read a (hopefully) pretty good book out of it. So in the end, you’re the winner.