What happened to a Looking For Alaska movie?
The same thing that happens to 99% of books that are optioned by movie companies: It got stuck in development. Josh Schwartz wrote a great script, the kind of script that is so good that no for-profit institution would ever invest tens of millions of dollars in making it into a film, so it will probably never get made.
Does this make me sad? It does not.
For one thing, if I’m going to be honest, I like going to the movies, but I find the process of how movies get made horrifying and reprehensible. (Similarly, I like bacon.)
Also, Looking for Alaska has a wonderful life. People are still reading it for the first time (in fact, 2011 will be its bestselling year so far), and they’re still recommending it to their friends, and it still feels like a book that people discover. Many of Alaska's readers feel an intense and private connection to the story and its characters, and I am extremely grateful for that. If they made a movie, it might be brilliant, and it would certainly sell a lot of books, but readers would inevitably lose some of the connection they feel to the story.
I love the Harry Potter movies, but they forever changed the books for me: I can’t help but see Ron as Rupert and Hermione as Emma. That would happen with an Alaska movie, too, and while of course I’d love to have a bunch of money and go to fancy Hollywood parties and stuff, in the end I feel very lucky that Looking for Alaska lives solely as scratches on a page.
That said, if they ever do make it, I think it could be quite a good film, and I’d be totally excited. But I’m not waiting patiently by the phone or anything.