Saturday, March 14, 2015

Guest Post: Michelle Ray on Falling for Hamlet Adapted as E! TV's "The Royals"

Little Brown, 2011; learn more!
By Michelle Ray
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

Falling for Hamlet is going to be a TV show! They’re calling it 'The Royals,' and it’ll be on E!” my agent emailed me.

It seemed absolutely impossible. Growing up in Los Angeles, I have many friends in “The Business,” and screenplays and novels are optioned all the time. Usually that’s as far as it goes.

But for me, it was really happening.

My mind soon went to the contract. What had I asked for? I recalled a clause about not using my name or likeness for personal hygiene products because my friends and I had had a laugh over the possibilities. Michelle Ray toilet paper? Tampons? Toothpaste?

Anyhow, I hadn’t asked for much. I didn’t request script approval because I figured once it was a series and not a finite story like my book, I knew it would depart dramatically from my story.

And boy did it. I think. See, as of four days before the premiere, I’ve only seen commercials like everyone else. I guess I should have asked for a set visit or to be kept up to date, but maybe I’ll do so next time (I should be so lucky).

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But here’s what I know about the show as it compares to my book:

1) There’s still an Ophelia. She still likes art.

2) There’s a Hamlet, but he’s called Liam. (I had been advised at one point to change the names of my characters, and had gone with Liam for a time. Great minds, I suppose.)

3) There is still a royal family.

4) The creators’ interest, like mine, seems to be what happens when you’re dating royalty or in the public eye constantly.

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5) That might be it.

Note: #5 doesn’t bother me much. I still consider myself very, very lucky and have enjoyed the heck out of the process from first contact with my LA agent, Eddie Gamarra, to watching the show premiere.

So what’s next for me? Another Shakespeare re-imagining!

Cynsational Notes

Mac/Beth follows Beth DeAngelo, the star of a hit teen TV show (think Disney or TeenNick) who wants to break free from the squeaky clean parts she’s had to take and move into adult roles in film.

After she and her boyfriend Garrett Mackenzie (they are “ship” named MacBeth) accidentally kill her close friend and costar Duncan King, they must navigate their rise to fame and their own guilt.

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