Lethem Ain’t Too Proud to Beg For Film


After having several of his books optioned, Jonathan Lethem still hasn’t seen an adaptation of his prose hit the big screen. So he’s taking an unusual tact with his latest, You Don’t Love Me Yet: He’s giving it away.

Follow along. Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn, Amensia Moon, and others has announced on his website that anyone with a camera and a will can shoot a version of his story and shop it around to distributors—a privilege usually paid for in advance whether or not a film actually makes it to theaters. Only after a filmmaker gets a distribution deal does Lethem want a cut—two percent of the film’s budget. Then, after five years, the filmmaker must agree to let the film go.

In other words, after a waiting period during which those rights would still be restricted, anyone who cared to could make any number of other kinds of artwork based on the novel’s story and characters … For that matter, they can remake the film with another script and new actors.

Why would he come up with such a scheme? Ask him. He’s taking your questions live online at Jane magazine’s website today at 4 p.m. EST.

Photo: Getty Images

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