When HBO called, I wasn’t paying attention.
Some might call that a humble brag, or say I was jaded, but I prefer “armored against the reality of constant disappointment.” You see, in my years as a reporter and author, I had been contacted by Hollywood before.
There was, for instance, the time pre-email and cell phones when a New York Times security guard called me at home early on a Sunday because the president of an indie film company was standing in the lobby, insisting on speaking to me. He’d read my cover story on something or other in the NYT Magazine that morning and simply had to buy the film rights. Was I free for breakfast the following day? Plans made, I was awoken before dawn the next morning by his secretary, saying (other) urgent business had called him back to LA and he would contact me shortly because my article was the most important thing ever published and absolutely had to be a movie.
I am still waiting to hear from him.
And then there was my first book, First Do No Harm, which was about the three years I spent observing the workings of a medical ethics committee at a hospital in Houston. This time, the project got as far as an option agreement with a respected producer, who hired a moderately big-deal screenwriter, who took my book — which was filled with dying children, grieving parents, conflicted doctors — and turned it into a script that opened with a naked woman running through a Texas garden in the rain. (That would be the chair of my medical ethics committee, who I assure you stayed completely clothed in every scene of my book…) READ MORE