Saturday, September 14, 2013

Box Office Poison: Guest Post with Phillipa Bornikova

The paranormal in Hollywood....  Well, there are some who would say there’s nothing “normal” about Hollywood at any time (insert rim shot here).  Joking aside, the fantastic has been integral to film and to Hollywood from the earliest days.  Consider Méliès and his film A Trip to the Moon or Le Manoir du Diable, or Murnau’s terrifying German silent vampire film Nosferatu.

When America came roaring into this new form of entertainment there was Frankenstein, and the Wizard of Oz, and Lon Cheny’s Wolfman, and Bela Lugosi as Dracula.  Witches, vampires, werewolves and an array of other fantastic and monstrous beings have been cavorting across both the big and small screen for decades.

So why did I decide to set an urban fantasy novel in Hollywood?  Partly because I had included elves in my pantheon of supernatural creatures, and it just seemed like an inevitable conflict would arise between the human actors and the preternaturally beautiful Álfar of my universe.  Hollywood is a town that puts a big premium on looks.  Even writers are subject to this judgment of the physical.  It would be logical that the Álfar would begin to get all the roles to the detriment of the human actors.

Also I’ve known a lot of hard charging Hollywood agents and managers, and in my universe I had postulated that werewolves would gravitate toward highly competitive jobs and dangerous jobs from bond traders to soldiers, etc.  High powered agents and managers are ruthless and it seemed like another profession well suited for Hounds. 

I also know the siren song of Hollywood.  I’ve felt it myself, and for generations the handsomest boy and the prettiest girl in high school have made that pilgrimage for the chance to be a star, our American version of royalty.  That made me think about the attractions of our world to the more pastoral Álfar, and I had another source of conflict that I could explore.  The truth is how you gonna keep ‘em down on the farm or locked in fairyland once they’ve seen Tinsel Town?

Ultimately the premise for my series was to investigate how the presence of supernatural creatures would affect our culture as well as our economics and politics.  I wanted to look at the levers of power, and entertainment certainly plays a part in that.  It is how we project American values and power to the world, and it’s also our largest export.  It just seemed like the next logical place to explore how vampires, werewolves and elves would  change our world.

So that’s the origin of BOX OFFICE POISON and I hope it sheds a little light on the internal workings of The Industry, and provides a bit of fun along the way.

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