We got very lucky. That has a lot to do with it. [We] managed not to turn into squeeing fanboys.
James S.A. Corey has a lot of fans. ‘His’ books, The Expanse series, have been nominated for the Hugo and appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers list. It wasn’t much of a surprise, then, when Variety revealed that The Expanse series was optioned for television by some of the people behind the Iron Man films and Breaking Bad. I reached out to ‘Corey’ to find out more about the project.
“We got very lucky. That has a lot to do with it,” said Daniel Abraham (who, along with Ty Franck, forms James S.A. Corey) when I asked him about how the project came together. As often happens in Hollywood (or an industry as small as science fiction/fantasy publishing), it all began with a daisy-chain of acquaintances and friendly introductions. “We actually had a fair number of inquiries from one place and another about the film rights, and we have a manager out there — Brian Lipson — who knows his way around. He put us together with Sean Daniel and Jason Brown, who’d been handed Leviathan Wakes by Ben Cook. Sean, in addition to producing some obscene percentage of all the good films ever made, knew Mark and Hawk.”
Obvious excitement followed, and the ball started rolling from there. “Ty and I managed not to turn into squeeing fanboys,” Abraham admitted, “but it was tough. I knew them from Iron Man and Children of Men, but Ty also knew the first film they did: First Snow. For me, anyway. And once we had that team together, Sean brought us out to LA over the summer to meet with folks, including Sharon Hall and Ben Roberts at Alcon. Then a bunch of high-power negotiation happened that I was blessedly unaware of, and we got this freaking amazing team.”
“Right now, Mark and Hawk sound like they want to adapt the story we’re telling in the books,” Abraham said, when I asked about what fans can expect the series to be a straight adaptation, or something more interpretive. “I’m sure there’ll be some structural changes because of the change of media, and also because it’s a chance to get some of the stuff Ty and I did wrong fixed. I am really looking forward to seeing what they make of it. We’re totally there to help out and support them in it, but the books are our project. When it comes to the screen writing thing, they’re the experts.”
There’s something in the water in Albuquerque, Abraham said, when I pressed him for more details about the project. “There’s something very weird about the project’s relationship to Albuquerque. Ty and I live there and wrote the books there. Mark used to live there too, and wrote and filmed First Snow there. Sharon Hall, the president of Alcon Television Group developed Breaking Bad, which is the only reason most folks have ever heard of the place. Don’t know what that means, but it is kind of weird.”