Burning Matches , the debút novel by Naas author, screenwriter and playwright Paul FitzSimons, has taken a step closer to making the jump to the big screen.
In recent days the author announced that the screenplay was optioned by production company Babyjane Productions, and that he will be working with them and producer Emma Owen to develop the film, bring on a director and partner with Irish and international co-producers.
Speaking to the Kildare Nationalist , Paul said that he was initially talking to Emma Owen about becoming the line producer – who typically manages the budget – but noted that she became invested in the story and began giving him notes. One thing led to another and he wound up signing a contract providing the option of buying the rights within a year.
“It’s all go at the moment,” he said. “It’s very, very busy and very productive so it’s going very well.”
Burning Matches hit the virtual shelves in May 2018, with the hard copy launched last December. A gripping crime novel that was 13 years in the making, the book was inspired by the idea of a matchmaker intent on making people miserable. Paul explained that the film, which will be called Complicit , won’t be a page-by-page copy given the limitations of adapting a book but will be quite similar.
“The main crux of the story from the book is there, the characters are the same, the main incident at the beginning of the story is the same and, without giving away the ending, the ending is pretty much going to be the same unless I’m persuaded otherwise by somebody,” he said. “But I’m fairly adamant that the story in itself will remain pretty much as per the book.”
One of the most important steps now is securing a director to helm the project, while development funding is also key. Paul said that they’ve just applied to Screen Ireland for funding and, as the film will be made in Galway, they’re hoping they might also get support from the WRAP (Western Region Audiovisual Production) Fund.
And, although he notes that he’ll leave the casting to the experts, Paul does have great ambitions – mentioning a few rather well-known names including Seána Kerslake, Michael Fassbender, Colin Farrell, Cillian Murphy and Andrew Scott.
“There’s some brilliant Irish talent out there at the moment,” he said. “If one of those or all of those were interested in being involved it’d be fantastic.”