By Marie LillyI thought it would be an easy peasy assignment--to adapt Madelle Morgan’s romance novel
DL has a strong and sympathetic hero in Petra Paris--a feisty geologist on a secret mission to gather evidence from an isolated diamond mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Her undercover cop Love Interest, Seth Lunden, is a Han Solo at his finest, and his relationship with Petra sizzles with tension. The sub-arctic summer vistas Madelle lovingly and intimately describes made me want to go there, and her dialogue made me smile.
My first marketable draft of Rough Diamonds (the screenplay version of DL) was a romance movie very faithful to the source material. It was immediately requested for consideration by a movie star’s production company and the response was mercifully quick: my screenplay wasn’t what they were looking for, try the Hallmark channel instead. My translation: "We are looking for great scripts for our leading man to star in. The star of your script is a woman."
Then a local director read RD and offered to direct and produce it. But first, he wanted to see a South African character in it. I added an Afrikaaner, raised the stakes and created international conflict. Seth became the main character and Petra became his Love Interest. RD was elevated from a small screen suspenseful romance to a big screen detective story.
As of today we are continuing to develop the director's vision. Throughout the story variations we've played with, Madelle's winning concept and characterizations for Petra and Seth survive intact. Hmmm, if RD becomes an international hit, maybe she'll write a sequel...