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Three Tales, Three Women, One Film

"There is a girl who goes between the worlds."

"You can buy anything you might desire from Gray Alys. But it is better not to."

"When he finally died, Shawn found to her shame that she could not even bury him."

Some of my younger fans and readers may not realize that my career did not begin with A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. Truth be told, I had been a professional writer for twenty years before I typed the first lines of the as-yet-untitled story that would grow to become A GAME OF THRONES. I had published four novels and half-a-dozen collections, won the Hugo and the Nebula and the World Fantasy Award, written science fiction, horror, and high fantasy.

Most of it in the form of short stories.

The lines above were the openings of three of those short stories:
-- "The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr,"
-- "In the Lost Lands,"
-- "Bitterblooms."

"Laren Dorr" is the oldest of the tales, and probably counts as my first foray into high fantasy. It is a deeply romantic tale, a reworking of a character that I had originally five years earlier, for a story in a comic fanzine that never appeared. I had the notion that I would write a whole series of tales about Sharra, the girl who goes between the worlds. Never got around to that, alas, but in 1992 I revived the concept for another dangerous young woman with the same power -- Cat, heroine of my failed ABC pilot DOORWAYS.

"In the Lost Lands" was supposed to launch a series as well. I had in mind a series of loosely connected tales about the enigmatic witch woman Gray Alys, and those who were brave or foolish or desperate enough to treat with her. But I never wrote that second story.

"Bitterblooms" was science fiction rather than fantasy, set on a distant planet in the far far future, and part of my Thousand Worlds sequence... albeit somewhat tangentially. There is a starship in the story, but it's a derelict, no longer capable of flight. The setting is a world locked in the grip of a deep winter, a winter that lasts for years.

"Laren Dorr" was published in 1976, "Bitterblooms" in 1977, "In the Lost Lands" in 1982. Old work, certainly, but I was always fond of those three stories, and of the three women who starred as the protagonists: Sharra, Gray Alys, and Shawn of Carinhall. None of the stories had anything to do with A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, of course, nor even with each other... but a careful reader can find hints and shadows and seeds of many of the ideas that would later bloom in Westeros in each of them. Still, even so, they remained obscure, known only to a few.

But maybe not for much longer. The German filmmaker CONSTANTIN WERNER, a director, producer, and screenwriter whose previous credits include PAGAN QUEEN, BETTIE PAGE: DARK ANGEL, and DEAD LEAVES (you can learn more about him from his IMDB page, here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1127897/ ) optioned the three stories a few years back, and has woven them together into a screenplay, under the title IN THE LOST LANDS.

And now the project appears to be moving toward production, with the exciting new that Myriad Pictures has signed MILLA JOVOVICH to play Gray Alys.

milla-jovovich-7119

Milla is best known to science fiction fans for her starring turns in FIFTH ELEMENT, RESIDENT EVIL, and ULTRAVIOLET. Constantin tells me she's a big GAME OF THRONES fan too. It's a thrill to have her be a part of this, and I will look forward to seeing her bring Gray Alys to life. (Maybe I will be so inspired that I'll finally write those other Gray Alys stories... but no, not until I finish A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, calm down, friends).

For more details about IN THE LOST LANDS, check out the reports in the trades:

http://variety.com/2015/film/news/milla-jovoich-in-the-lost-lands-casting-berlin-1201421451/

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/milla-jovovich-final-talks-star-769165

http://www.screendaily.com/festivals/berlin/european-film-market/myriad-heads-to-efm-with-in-the-lost-lands/5082573.article

JUSTIN CHATWIN will also star in the film, a German-Canadian co-production scheduled to film in Germany. More casting to come, of course.

If any of you would like to read the three original stories, you can find them all in my massive collection GRRM: A RRETROSPECTIVE, also published as DREAMSONGS.

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( 38 comments )
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Dennis Staples
Feb. 4th, 2015 02:24 am (UTC)
I didn't believe the initial reports but now that it's here, I'm more optimistic! Laren Dorr is probably my favorite story of yours, so here's hoping the essence of that one makes it on screen.
RaUL_AMDERLAINE
Feb. 4th, 2015 02:24 am (UTC)
Looking forward to seeing Fevre Dream as a series/movie as well. It has a certain "True Blood" flavour in it, can't understand why it hasn't been picked up by any channel yet.
Laskevjn
Feb. 4th, 2015 02:26 am (UTC)
Great! But when will they make a Haviland Tuf series?
Please make them do it! I´d love to see Conleth Hill playing Tuf.
GeekFurious
Feb. 4th, 2015 02:27 am (UTC)
Great news!
Happy to have another thing of yours to look forward to... love Jovovich.
thefirstalicat
Feb. 4th, 2015 03:11 am (UTC)
I saw this on IMDB yesterday and posted a comment re Gray Alys and Milla Jovovich, because quite literally I re-read "In the Lost Lands" 2 days ago, on Sunday afternoon, in Fantasy for Good, and I *like* her being "ageless, shapeless." That is, not young and pretty. So I'm kind of grrrrr on this one, I have to say.

Though I'd be happy to read more stories about her {g}. And I also must refer to my copy of GRRM: A RRETROSPECTIVE to remind myself of "Bitterblooms" ("Laren Dor" I think I remember)....
marat_ahtjamov
Feb. 4th, 2015 04:02 am (UTC)
Mila is the best. Thank you, Comrade Martin :)
WalthervdVogel
Feb. 4th, 2015 04:51 am (UTC)
Do you think it's at all realistic nowadays someone could support themselves as a professional writer in the same way you seemingly did when you started? Knowing your history makes it all sound so plausible, but 1970 is not 2015. The Internet, in particular, has completely changed the landscape.
grrm
Feb. 4th, 2015 05:47 am (UTC)
Times have changed, and so have career paths.

And it is worth noting that I sold my first story in 1971, but did not go full time until 1980. So I can't claim to have supported myself with my writing for the first decade of my career.

Even after I made the leap, there were bumpy times. My whole career crashed and burned in 1984-1985, after the failure of THE ARMAGEDDON RAG.
(no subject) - apostle_of_eris - Feb. 4th, 2015 04:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - WalthervdVogel - Feb. 4th, 2015 07:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
byrontengu
Feb. 4th, 2015 05:02 am (UTC)
Did any of those stories make it into the Dreamsongs anthology? They sound familiar. I have the full, at least most recent, Dreamsongs on audio, and listen to them while doing leather projects.

Edited at 2015-02-04 05:02 am (UTC)
grrm
Feb. 4th, 2015 07:02 am (UTC)
They are all in DREAMSONGS.
dragonborngurl
Feb. 4th, 2015 05:36 am (UTC)
WOW!
I'm floored (but not actually) by this news. Milla Jovavich has been a personal favorite of mine since Joan of Arc! I loved Fifth Element and she was great, but fell in love with her in Joan of Arc and THEN, she was in a little film a friend of mine was the production designer on called Dummy, with Adrian Brody and from THAT role she became familiar and then everything she's done, from her humanitarian support to her own fashion line to Resident Evil has been Magic in my eye's. I love that she'll be doing a project of yours George! Magic is brewing in a hot Cauldron.
sewaddicted
Feb. 4th, 2015 06:01 am (UTC)
I loved the pilot for Doorways, and for years wished it had been taken up as a series. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing In The Lost Lands
grrm
Feb. 4th, 2015 06:48 am (UTC)
It was a crushing disappointment for me when DOORWAYS was not picked up for series... but in hindsight, it was probably for the best. At the level of technology that existed in 1993, it simply would not have been possible to do the quality of show I wanted to do on a network one-hour budget.

And if DOORWAYS had lasted any length of time, I might never have written GAME OF THRONES, so...
(no subject) - sewaddicted - Feb. 4th, 2015 06:56 am (UTC) - Expand
Doorways... - Peter Poole - Feb. 7th, 2015 11:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Doorways... - grrm - Feb. 7th, 2015 11:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
tsgeisel
Feb. 4th, 2015 06:58 am (UTC)
Totally looking forward to this; probably 3 of the best semi-connected stories to forge a connection between.

But I would also love to see a Haviland Tuf movie (and how many fundamentalists would you piss off?), and a few others that don't exactly lend themselves to the long form ("A Song for Lya", "With Morning Comes Misfall".)
doc_psycho
Feb. 4th, 2015 07:03 am (UTC)
Hurray! Finally, a movie to see. I was recently complaining (after watching Seventh Son) that for some unknown reason producers don't use HUGE amount of existing good-old-fashioned American sci-fi and fantasy as a base for screenplays, creating instead some second-hand stories repeating (badly) blockbusters of times of my childhood.
Etay Livne
Feb. 4th, 2015 07:24 am (UTC)
Great news! I like all these stories and I happened to reread In The Lost Lands last week, so these news came to me at a good time. To be honest, I've been waiting for someone to notice your older works and realize it too is ripe for screen adaptations.


However, I'm not sure I understand the details here. While all three of these stories feature women, the setting and style of each is different than the others. Are they all going to be made into one story? Or will each of them be presented separately but with connecting themes - like say in Clod Atlas?
ajinak
Feb. 4th, 2015 08:16 am (UTC)
So now I'm finally 'feeling old' :) Or at least like an older fan. I first read your stories in an anthology (borrowed from library when I was just a little kid) and 'In the Lost Lands' has been a favourite of mine long long before I encountered A Song of Ice and Fire, and even longer before I actually started to read it. I'm feeling a bit ambivalent whether I want those almost 'unknown stories' (at least to the majority of GoT fans) to be 'stolen from our imagination' and brought to silver screen. But in the end, I do the same with my illustrations :) Milla was great in Joan and The Fifth Element (not only), so hopefully she will make a memorable Alys.

Edited at 2015-02-05 12:04 pm (UTC)
jesperberg
Feb. 4th, 2015 09:22 am (UTC)
I consider myself one of your younger fans (I'm about to turn 22). 2 years ago I found the Dreamsongs and I love 'em! I hope this movie might open the eyes of more younglings, cause they're really missing out. Agree with precious post about Haviland, Tuf Voyaging would make a great mini-series!
Greetings from Sweden
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