Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors
Sparks is, as he himself notes, as close to a “sure thing” as exists in Hollywood, ticking off the reasons: filmable budgets; timeless, feel-good stories with long box-office legs; and juicy parts that draw good actors. The plots might seem formulaic to some — love stories with tragic twists — but Sparks’ ability to imbue his tales with real emotional resonance keeps his fans coming back. To wit: He’s sold 80 million books, eight of which have been turned into films, including three in the past three years that each grossed more than $89 million at the box office: The Last Song, The Lucky One and Dear John. Up next is Safe Haven (out Feb. 14), with Josh Duhamel and Julianne Hough. Sparks — a former Notre Dame scholarship track athlete and, until 2009, a state championship-winning track coach at his local high school in New Bern, N.C. — now is expanding into TV (he has three cable shows in development) and internationally (with adaptations of his book The Rescue under way in Germany and Brazil). “The most challenging aspect is coming up with a story that will be both an excellent novel for my readers and can also be turned into an excellent film,” says Sparks. “I can think of five new novels, I could write all five of them, and my readers would love them, but they wouldn’t get made into films because they don’t have that magical hook that makes a story onscreen.”
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