Film of Father Elijah

May 3, 2011

Dear Friends of StudiObrien,

For the past several years, many of you have written to me to say that you believe my novel Father Elijah would make an excellent film. A number of film companies have felt the same. Since the book was first published in 1996, I recall at least eight film-makers in North America and Europe approaching me to discuss a film.

Most of the interested firms were small and brave enterprises, but two of them were major corporations, including Columbia Tristar in the late 1990’s. Both my publisher and myself advised the latter that we would consider granting them film rights if, and only if, the essential spiritual meaning of the story was respected. We understood that there are always adaptations needed when bringing a novel to film, but we did not want any distortion of aspects such as the nature of the Church, the holiness of the priesthood, and the unfolding of salvation history. No contract was signed, but Tristar began development of preliminary film treatments for our consideration. However, these treatments grew increasingly more disordered, until in the end it looked like the true meaning of the story had been radically undermined. Because of confidentiality I cannot discuss all that went on, but at least I can say that we firmly refused to consider any corruption of the novel’s spiritual significance and mission in the world. As a result, the project was dropped. I was relieved when this happened, because as the work’s author I could not bear to see it prostituted in the name of profit.