What: An intriguing, just-announced project from an up-and-coming artist.
Who: Kristen Roupenian and studio A24.
Why we care: The talk of the day online rarely turns to literature, especially these days. (Unless of course you count all the chatter about George Orwell’s 1984 around this time last year.) One afternoon in December, however, all anybody could talk about was “Cat Person,” the deeply uncomfortable short fiction piece published in The New Yorker. First, there were rumblings that you had to read this story. Then there were earnest discussions about the titular character, the epitome of Online Dating Man from hell–alternately predatory or pitiful, depending on your perspective. Finally, there was the backlash. That was what cemented this short story as a Moment. When has a New Yorker short generated so much conversation that so many people had to go out of their way to call it “overrated” and/or “bad”?
One thing most people aware of the story could agree on was that the phenomenon of “Cat Person,” easily the New Yorker‘s most-read fiction of the year, was that it would open a lot of doors for its author. Indeed, news quickly broke about a book deal for Kristen Roupenian, who had been unknown before the story, having recently completed a writing fellowship at the University of Michigan. It was a deal for two books, sold to Scout Press, with a seven-figure price tag. Now, just a few months after that staggering success, Roupenian has made her next move, and it’s a doozy. She is now the writer of A24’s first-ever spec script acquisition.
Bodies, Bodies, Bodies, coming to a theater near you.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Executives at A24 were familiar with the short story, and when they heard the author had separately written a script, they became intrigued and tracked it down. What the execs found was a shrewd character study where mystery and deep-seated scares blended in such a way that the company saw an opportunity to make a horror movie that could also be culturally relevant, sources say. The plan is to fast-track the script to production, sources added.”
Kristen Roupenian’s story–not “Cat Person,” but the story of the author herself–is an object lesson about creative preparedness. Being ready for your big moment before the moment happens is the best way to ensure you don’t squander that moment.