Friday, June 5, 2015


Due to circumstances beyond our control and with the deepest regret, we are letting the dream of seeing GREEN DARKNESS made into a movie go.
It was our intent to stay with it for the long haul, but that has become impossible.
To all the fans, we say adieu and thanks for hanging in with us. 
We fear the project may never come to pass.
Farewell  to all~~

Angela and Marla

Friday, January 9, 2015


Legends of a woman walled in at Ightham Mote manor in England have persisted for centuries.  Visitors to the National Trust site have been enthralled with this mystery. Who was she? Why did she suffer that horrible fate? Anya Seton was so intrigued, she wove her bestselling novel GREEN DARKNESS as an answer to those questions.

Marla and I have optioned the screenplay rights to this classic work. Our adaptation’s primary goals are to preserve yet enhance the story, make it visually compelling and keep the budget as low as possible. Though we have used the novel's general  plotline, we have made many important changes to enhance (and combine) the characters, marketability and cinematic aspects of the story. There are dual roles for all four leads. The novel shifts between two time periods, 1968 and 1550’s. Period films are more expensive and even the 1968 is now “period”. Thus we have updated the 1968 to present day.

We were listening to an interview with the screenwriters of BIG EYES the other day.  They were talking about adaptation and how various writers go about the process. Apparently when adapting GONE WITH THE WIND, the screenwriters were given the novel to read and then the book was taken away. Whatever they retained, whatever events remained most prominent, were included in the adaptation. It reminded me of cooking spaghetti and throwing a noodle against the wall—if it sticks, it’s done. Seems to me those writers had great memories, as much of the book transferred to the screen—in well-cooked, dramatic fashion.

That was our plan as well, since we had to update the present section of the story. A lot has changed since 1968, including attitudes.

As we continue to market, rework and update our script, we thought we’d ask:
What parts of the book stuck with YOU so strongly that they would NEED to be included in your  screenplay?
What questions come to mind that remained unanswered in the novel?
How would YOU answer them in YOUR screenplay? Or would you?

We think there are enough unanswered questions to plot a sequel

All comments are welcome
Till next time~~

Monday, October 6, 2014

Why hasn’t GREEN DARKNESS been made into a movie?

Fans of GREEN DARKNESS, including both of us, have asked and re-asked that question. We had heard from the publisher that we were not the first ones to take out a screenplay option on the novel.
Why weren't the previous optioners successful? 

While there may be no answer, we can’t help but wrack our brains with the question. We came up with  a few theories:
1) Perhaps they didn't try hard enough? 

2)Maybe they didn't love the book the way we do.

3)When the book was first published, reincarnation was a new and perhaps frightening philosophy. Since then, people have come to accept it and even if they may not believe in it themselves, they recognize that others do. Many films have dealt with the subject.

4)While this may annoy many lovers of the book, the bald fact is that Celia is not terribly likeable. She continues to pursue Stephen in the past even though he tries to keep her at arm’s length. 

5)The novel's method of returning to the past is a real stretch of the "willing suspension of disbelief". We've dealt with that differently and in a more believable way, but to do so we've made a significant shift in the story telling. It's a change that makes the story deeper and more emotional, we feel.

6)The most obvious reason? Cost. But we've taken steps to keep the costs down as well. 

Ultimately, it will be the test of time and our resources to prove whether we were right.

Plunging ever onward~~
Angela & Marla

Monday, May 5, 2014

Reincarnation Is for the Dogs?

At the heart of GREEN DARKNESS are several controversial topics -- reincarnation being one in the mix.
Angela and I would like to share some thoughts with you.

Marla’s Musings: Like the Buddhists, I believe reincarnation happens. Maybe my beliefs are not so deep as those of the monks, however I can't help but think, nay believe, that our spirits are on a learning journey that continues from lifetime to lifetime. That we have to learn from our mistakes, whether in this life or in the next... but that's getting into the realm of karma. I also believe that at some point on this learning curve, your spirit, or soul if you prefer, will have learned all it needs to learn and is granted everlasting bliss in heaven.
My father, who was born and raised as a staunch Catholic, was a man with a mind open to many possibilities. He used to joke that he was "coming back as Marla's next dog" because of the love and care I lavished on my pets. Is it wrong of me to feel a twinge of guilt that life's circumstances have prevented me from having another dog since Dad's death? Scholars could debate that for eons; Freud would be able to analyze that until he blew his own mind.

Angela’s Meditations: From the time I started to wonder why we were here, I felt a deep connection to the past. Why did specific historical periods resonate so strongly with me? Why certain authors? Did I do something in a past life/lives that caused the circumstances I find myself in today? Reincarnation was a natural explanation for me. The laws of physics say that energy can neither be created or destroyed. If that’s true then where does the energy of our “spirit” go? If everything is recycled, why not our energy or spirit? It makes sense to me and it’s the belief of the majority of humans.

My mother was the one I shared these beliefs with. We both found meaning and purpose in the idea of making as much of each lifetime as possible. It's comforting to think that all our trials and tribulations earn points for the next time around. All our talents pass along with us and ...go easy on the karma for our sins please! LOL
Angela and Marla: Perhaps this is why we both love the story of GREEN DARKNESS. For us, finding reincarnation in GREEN DARKNESS and wanting to bring it to the big screen wasn't much of a stretch of the imagination.

The love of Richard/Stephen for Celia present/past would not, could not, simply vanish. It demanded justice. It yearned to be given the chance of redemption.
Please share your beliefs on this issue with us. We look forward to reading your comments.

Until next time~~
Marla & Angela

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to Market a Screenplay

Our readers have often asked when the GREEN DARKNESS movie is coming to their local movie theater.

Oh, if only it was as 'easy' a process as step 1. option the book's screenplay rights. step 2. write the script... step 4. make the film.

What is missing in that formula is step 3 -- marketing the script to a producer or producers who will champion our script through the financing phase and getting a director interested, casting some big name actors/actresses, putting together a crew with equipment, booking locations, and a myriad of other details. And those are just pre-production and production intricacies. We won't go into the complexities of post-production in this blog.

Marketing, also known as pitching the screenplay, is an art -- a stomach churning, nerve rattling, roller coaster ride of an art. A specialized skill that we hone with every pitch we give. Whether the pitch is done face-to-face with a producer, or by having a producer read a written synopsis, or by paying companies who specialize in getting us access to pitch to big-name producers on the phone ... it's a coin toss whether the producer will ask to read the script.

During the pitch, they can sound totally enthusiastic about our project, but then they may not ask to actually read the screenplay. And if they ask for the script, it feels like forever before we hear their verdict about being involved in the project.

One producer may put down the idea of even reading a period piece, saying it's too expensive to create or not marketable; then, the very next producer may say something like  "Wow! That stuff is really hot right now!."

One may say he wants to research the book's track record more; and then, the next could ask to read the screenplay before the pitch is even finished.

Sometimes they suggest that it might work better as a TV mini-series, but they’re only interested in feature films and so won’t even consider reading it..

Some complain when we give information about the book and the built in audience, others find that information welcome. Some want more time spent in the medieval period of the story, and others are more invested in the ‘present’ part of the story.

The Executives we pitch to have to consider not only their own reactions to the story but the feelings and opinion of their higher ups whom they will have to convince. One producer knew right off the bat that her boss didn’t like reincarnation stories.

Like we said -- a toss of the coin... a roller coaster ride, but whatever the experience is, we won't stop until we find the perfect home to bring our adaptation of GREEN DARKNESS to life at your local movie complex.

Wish us luck!
Until next time --
Marla & Angela

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Naworth Castle - its private and public sides

Hello, to all the patient fans of GREEN DARKNESS. We are still on track, looking for a producer to take the adaptation to the next step toward a film.

We have also been trying to get a response from Naworth Castle. After many attempts, we have done some research of our own. 

In the absence of a Q & A  with the present owners of Naworth Castle, let's talk about the location in part III of our series of GREEN DARKNESS locations.

Naworth Castle, known as "Naward" in historical documents, traces its origins back to the late 1200s or 1335 depending on the source your reference. In GREEN DARKNESS it is located in Scotland, but today it's officially listed as being in Cumbria, England, a mere 10 miles from today's Scottish Border.
Ownership of the 2,000 acre estate changed hands several times over the 700 years of its existence, starting with the Baron Dacre. The present owner Philip Howard is the 13th Earl of Carlisle, one in a long line of Earls.

This romantic stronghold is not open to the public as a day-to-day hotel, but exclusive overnight stays can be arranged for a minimum of 10-18 people who will stay in the bedrooms in the Dacre, Morpeth, and Lord William's towers and the courtyard rooms.

Tours can also be arranged to see the 2 pre-Raphaelite libraries, Medieval dungeons, Great Hall, and Lord William's bedchamber. Philip Howard will serve as your guide. Weddings performed at the estate have been scaled back since 2002 when it reverted to being just a private home. That said, official ceremonies have still been known to happen at Naworth from April - September.

Films and TV productions have used Naworth as a shooting location since the 1980s. The castle's medieval exterior and grounds need little or no dressing for period pieces, as does the adjoining walled garden with its 17th century feel. The 20 rooms in the west wing have been stripped down to the original stonework, making them perfect for authentic, interior sets. 

We wonder what Anya Seton would think of Naworth Castle in the light of today's ongoing improvements -- something tells us, she might have had her characters spend more time at this grand estate.

It looks like a wonderfully atmospheric location. Don't you agree?

Till next time~~
Marla and Angela

Friday, September 6, 2013

THE SPREAD EAGLE -- As It Exists In Our Modern World

Hello fans of GREEN DARKNESS--

This is part II in our Q & A e-interviews with the managers of locales mentioned in Anya Seton's novel GREEN DARKNESS.

Edward James, General Manager at The Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa, kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.

Q: How many visitors come to The Spread Eagle in a year?

A: At least 30,000.

Q: Of those, how many make mention of their being there because of the novel GREEN DARKNESS and/or its author Anya Seton?

A: A low proportion sadly but it is not a question we normally pose. [We learned that, unlike Cowdray Castle, there isn't a gift shop at The Spread Eagle, so they don't sell copies of GREEN DARKNESS to their visitors/customers.]

Q: Are any of those visitors doing a tour of the other locales mentioned in the novel? Is The Spread Eagle listed on any official tours of locations in GREEN DARKNESS, the novel? Does The Spread Eagle do any tie-in connections to Ightham Mote?

A: I have never pursued this form of interest, as I have failed to make good connection with any interested parties. It is a shame. [Perhaps this Q & A session will increase the interaction between neighboring GREEN DARKNESS locales or spur the formation of clubs to develop such tour connections.]

Q: The outside of the building appears to have the charm of yesteryear, how has the interior changed? How much of it is still authentic from the Tudor period? How old is the building?

A: The building is listed [with The National Trust] and therefore we have not been able to change it too much, but we have all the modern conveniences inside so one could say it has changed massively.  The White Room where Anya Seton stayed has remained as is, although since the building's conception, enormous changes have occurred in that particular room.  The oldest part of the building is the lounge bar and the Queens suite and this has remained relatively untouched, leaving it true to its Tudor origins of c.1430.

Q: When did it change from Tavern to Hotel Spa? Which was it when author Anya Seton was there? How has it changed much since?

A: The exact date of the designation change is unknown, but probably pre 1793. The two buildings were joined in about 1840 when it became a hotel.  Though it was an Inn (as opposed to a Tavern) for much of that time, this was where wealthy individuals would stay overnight.  The Spa was built in 1997.  It was only a hotel when Anya Seton wrote her book.  There have been lots of cosmetic changes, but most bits are still here and intact.

Q: Are there artifacts from past centuries displayed around The Spread Eagle?

A: There are many all around the hotel that have historical interest. [Edward advises us that unfortunately he cannot provide any more details about these artifacts.]

Q: Have any ghosts have been recorded as residing at The Spread Eagle? Any suggestions as to who they might have been while they were alive?

A: There are many ghosts that apparently move around the hotel. There are suggestions as to who they are, but I cannot name them, sadly.  Their pictures are hung around the property.

Q: Please give us your official website so GREEN DARKNESS fans who cannot get to England can take a virtual tour of this majestic estate.


The official website has some stunning photos of The Spread Eagle. Do check it out.

Check back here for part III of the series -- a Q & A for Ightham Mote!

Keep spreading the word of this blog. It gives us more ammunition to promote our screenplay adaptation to prospective producers.

Until next time--
Marla & Angela