The news that Nicole Kidman, Nashville’s resident movie star, had acquired the rights to The Family Fang, the debut novel by Sewanee’s resident bestselling fiction writer, comes as a surprise to no one who’s read this very cinematic novel about the troubled adult children of two passionate performance artists. (Kidman plans to play the role of Annie Fang.) Well, it comes as news to no one except, perhaps, the book’s author, Kevin Wilson. Chapter 16 caught up with Wilson at the Meacham Writers’ Workshop in Chattanooga and asked him about the movie news:
Chapter 16: First, congratulations on the great success of The Family Fang.
Wilson: It’s exciting because it was so unexpected. It’s just so difficult for books right now, so this went way beyond what I had even hoped for.
Chapter 16: And now Nicole Kidman has the screen rights to The Family Fang and is planning to produce and star in the film. I’m guessing you’re excited about this news?
Wilson: I’m very excited about it. I love adaptation because I love how you can take an existing work and then it becomes another artist’s own individual piece of art. I was the source material but then somebody else takes it and does something new with it.
Chapter 16: That’s very gracious of you. Not all artists feel that way.
Wilson: Even if—and I can’t imagine such a thing—but even if the movie turned out to be very different, or I didn’t like it as much, I still wrote the book. I still know what the book was. Nothing is going to change the book. And [Kidman and her partners] were just great. I really liked what they said about what they wanted to do with the book.
Chapter 16: Have you met Nicole Kidman?
Wilson: I’ve talked to her via email, and we’re supposed to meet at some point. She was really nice and really smart. She definitely had read the book closely and had real neat ideas about how you could make that book into something that could be a film.
Chapter 16: I don’t know if you remember this, but in an interview with Chapter 16 back in February, you spoke about your wife Leigh Anne Couch’s work as a poet, and you said: “Leigh Ann knows she’s not going to get a lucrative book contract or have a poem optioned for a feature film, but I know I’m not going to get those things either.”
Wilson: I didn’t remember that. No, that’s crazy. That’s wild.
Chapter 16: So never say never. Surprising things happen.
Wilson: Never say never. Now I want Leigh Anne to get a poem optioned for a movie.
Chapter 16: That’ll be the next thing.
Wilson: It’s crazy. That’s the furthest thing from your mind when you’re writing a book. Maybe in the back of my head I was thinking if I could write a good enough novel I would get to meet Nicole Kidman. And it would all be worth it.