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When Millie Bobby Brown’s fantasy film Damsel debuts on Netflix, audiences will also get to experience the story in novel form from New York Times best-selling author Evelyn Skye.
In a collaboration with Netflix and Random House Worlds, Skye will release the novelization of Damsel ahead of the film, which wrapped production earlier this year, starring and executive produced by Millie Bobby Brown.
Damsel tells the story of Elodie, who grows up in the famine-stricken realm of Inophe. When a representative from a wealthy, reclusive kingdom offers her family enough wealth to save Inophe in exchange for Elodie’s hand in marriage, she accepts. However, while undertaking the ritual to be an Aurean princess for the kingdom of Aurea, Elodie learns the kingdom’s dark secrets.
“A young girl who appears and vanishes from the castle tower. A parade of torches weaving through the mountains. Markings left behind in a mysterious ‘V.’ Too late, she discovers that Aurea’s prosperity has been purchased at a heavy cost — each harvest season, the kingdom sacrifices its princesses to a hungry dragon. And Elodie is the next sacrifice,” Random House Worlds describes the novel. “Forced to fight for her life, this damsel must use her wits to defeat a dragon, uncover Aurea’s past, and save not only herself but the future of her new kingdom as well.”
“The easiest way to think about it is this: Dan Mazeau wrote the original screenplay. I was able to read an early draft and was given free rein to write my own version of the story, which ultimately became the novel. Both the novel and the movie may stem from the same origin, but they are also each their own unique works of art,” Skye said in a statement. Mazeau is the film’s screenwriter.
Skye calls working on the novel “a unique, collaborative partnership” with Netflix. “I got to read drafts of the screenplay, and the filmmakers got to read drafts of my manuscript. We could riff off each other’s ideas, building details from the novel into the movie and vice versa, while also preserving our own versions of the story in our respective mediums,” she said.
The film and novel will both feature the same characters and setting. Skye quipped that while visiting the set, she was able to “recite all the lines before they even did the first take,” given the novel and screenplay are similar. However, Skye teases it will be a “treasure hunt for true fans” to find the differences in the novel and film.
“I had an amazing time watching the actors, chatting with director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, and touring the other sets (like the dragon’s caves) that weren’t being used that day,” Skye said. “Netflix even had their photographer do a mini photo shoot with me on set, so I got to pretend I was a star for a day! Both the film and the novel are going to be magnificent. I can’t wait for everyone to experience them.”
In addition to Brown, Damsel also stars Angela Bassett, Robin Wright, Nick Robinson, Brooke Carter and Shohreh Aghdashloo. Academy Award-nominated Fresnadillo directs.
Damsel marks another book collaboration for Netflix ahead of a project’s premiere. It was announced in July that Avon Books, an imprint of the William Morrow Group at HarperCollins, has acquired North American rights to a collaborative novel written by Bridgerton author Julia Quinn and Shonda Rhimes, who executive produces the Netflix original series, to be based on Rhimes’ upcoming spinoff series that will chronicle the rise of Queen Charlotte.
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