INTERVIEW: Behind The Scenes of Movie Tie-Ins with Greg Cox

You already know who New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox is, but you might not know it. If you’ve read the novelization of the recent Daredevil, Man of Steel, Godzilla, Ghostrider or Underworld films, you’ve read a Greg Cox novel. Beyond those, he’s written in the Batman, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Iron Man,  Xena, Terminator, X-Men, among other universes, and over 14 Star Trek novels.  Greg is an expert, he’s been doing this for over twenty years!  And he was kind enough to answer a few of my questions  about his newest novelization of the recent Godzilla movie, the movie tie-in industry, and more!

Let’s get to the interview!


Andrea Johnson: About a week after reading your novelization of Godzilla, I went and saw the movie. Your novelization expanded many  portions of the film, including extra introductory material, and further development of side characters. When writing a novelization, how do you know what areas you can expand on, and when to “stick to the script”?

Greg Cox: In general, the studios prefer that you stick to the script in terms of the overall plot and dialogue, but there’s often room to flesh out the characters and fill in more of their backgrounds, especially with the supporting characters who might not get as much screen time and development as the leads. On Godzilla, I also had the advantage of seeing early drafts of the scripts, including scenes that were cut or shortened in the final movie.

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Greg Cox is the New York Times bestselling author of The Dark Knight Rises novelization. He has also written successful novelizations and tie-ins for Star Trek, Countdown, Infinite Crisis and many more. Cox is a consulting editor for Tor Books and was nominated in 2008 for the Best Speculative Adapted Scribe Award for 52: The Novel.

I had the opportunity to speak with Greg about writing novelizations, media tie-ins and who would win in a fight between Superman and Batman…

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[GUEST INTERVIEW] Gilbert Colon talks with Bestselling Author Greg Cox

Greg Cox is the New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels and short stories. He wrote the official movie novelizations of Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Death Defying Acts, and all three Underworld films, as well the novelizations of four popular DC Comics miniseries, Infinite Crisis, 52, Countdown and Final Crisis. In addition, he has written books and short stories based on such popular series as Alias, Batman, Buffy, C.S.I., Farscape, Fantastic Four, The 4400, The Green Hornet, Iron Man, Leverage, The Phantom, Roswell, Star Trek, Terminator, Underworld, Xena, X-Men and Zorro. A sample chapter of his latest, the novelization of The Dark Knight Rises, can be read at IGN. Visit Greg Cox at http://www.gregcox-author.com/ for more about his projects.


ADAPTATION: THE NOVELIZATION FROM SCREENPLAY TO FINISHED BOOK
An Interview with Bestselling Author Greg Cox by Gilbert Colon

“Well, I’ve gotta write the book first, John. Then, you know, they get somebody to write the screenplay.” – Susan Orlean in Spike Jonze’s Adaptation.

“Well, they get somebody to write the screenplay. Then, you know, I’ve gotta write the book.” – The Novelizer.

When enthusiastic fans write stories involving iconic characters like Captain Kirk, Spock, Iron Man, or Sydney Bristow, the result is called “fanfic.” When a professional like New York Times bestselling author Greg Cox does it, it is what could be called “franchise fiction” and is published by houses such as Simon & Schuster, Berkley Books, and Titan Publishing Group. One particular form of franchise fiction, the novelization, involves the complicated process of adapting a screenplay into a novel without the benefit of a finished film for reference. It can be a bit like working in the dark, and involves more imagination than it is often given credit for. With The Dark Knight Rises, Cox’s latest novelization, the author takes us behind the scenes to give us a soup to nuts look at the nuts and bolts of this until-now secretive process.

Gilbert Colon: Have movie tie-in novelizations changed since the days they debuted? Since you began novelizing films 10years ago?

Greg Cox: I’ve been doing this for about a decade now, starting with the novelization of Daredevil,and the main difference is that the level of secrecy surrounding the scripts has increased significantly, for which I blame the internet. Nowadays there’s practically a cottage industry devoted to publishing spoilers on-line, so I understand why the studios have to work even harder to keep things under wraps.

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