The Secret Niche


By Chris Azzopardi

What unpublished piece of writing are you most proud of?
I guess, in a sense, the screenplay I just sold to Universal. That would be the thing that I'm most excited about, and the thing I'm really hoping gets made. I think it's got a really good chance now, and it's got a good home.

Were you writing prose before screenplays, or vice versa?
I mean, I was always writing prose, but I never made any money from it. I started making money from TV and that was professionally. That was the first thing that caught. Then after TV I managed to get some screenwriting work, and that sort of caught. And then I got Child 44, so I guess I was writing prose long before I was writing screenplays.

What are you currently reading?
I just read a book -- not a very good book if you're a screenwriter -- but it's called The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made. One of them, The Stars My Destination, which I hadn't ever read or which wasn't even on my radar but it's by Alfred Bester, is meant to be one of the best science fiction books. I'm enjoying it. It's like The Count of Monte Cristo, basically.

A change of pace from what you write, huh?
Well, no -- yeah, I guess. I've just been also hired by Warner to write Robotech, which is the Japanese anime series from the '80s that kind of involved these robots. Basically like Transformers, but with people inside them. It was a very popular Japanese show, and they've hired me to adapt it, which is obviously a piece of science fiction. The Robotech forums were all like, 'Who is this British guy? He's never written science fiction before,' but in fact I've loved science fiction since I was -- what, 6? I just don't have any science fiction credits, that's what they mean.

Well, now you will.
If they make it, yes. They've tried for quite a few writers, so it's a bit of daunting. We'll see how it goes.

So are you a Transformers fan? Have you seen the movies?
Yeah, I have seen the movies. I think they did a really good job at turning something that was kind of quite '80s and almost old fashioned, very particularly dated to that time, and making it new and fresh and popular.

We're about the same age, so the action figures were big when we were kids. Were you a fan?
I think I quite liked them.

I was more into Barbie dolls. [Laughs.]
[Laughs.] They can transform, too.

Child 44 and The Secret Speech are available at your favorite book retailer.

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