If you are as big of a fan as I am of the best-selling author, Zane, then you have to be anticipating the upcoming movie, ADDICTED. The movie is based on Zane’s best-selling novel about a woman that appears to have it all, but goes down the road of desire, sex, and danger intertwined.
Christina Welsh, co-screenwriter of the film, is best known for writing the romantic drama, IF ONLY, which starred Jennifer Love Hewitt and Tom Wilkinson. She began adapting ADDICTED for the big screen in 2006. In 2012 it went into production. What to us may seem like a long journey, in the film industry this length of process is pretty normal. “Sometimes it takes years for something good to suddenly happen overnight”, Welsh likes to put it. We had the chance to talk with Christina on the upcoming film, life as a writer in a male-dominating industry, and of course, her addictions:
With the novel, ADDICTED based on a woman addicted to sex, how did you get in to the frame of mind to compose the story for film?
I had the book which was such a complete and detailed depiction of this woman’s descent into sex addiction. I did some research myself on the subject matter and learned a lot about it — how incidents from childhood can trigger an adult-onset addiction, how other issues often accompany sex addiction (such as a drug or alcohol problem or an eating disorder). It’s a genuine disease — and it was important for me to understand that and convey that in the screenplay. I also appreciated how the character seeks help from a therapist. Her behavior and actions are not sympathetic — but her desire to address and cure the problem is.
Out of all the amazing Zane best-selling novels, why ADDICTED?
Lionsgate Studio had the rights to the book and put out the call, looking for a screenwriter to adapt it. It was an open writing assignment — where I competed with a lot of other writers for the job — and I got it! After reading the book, I could see why it appealed to the studio: the lead character Zoe is very relatable — successful, a loving wife and mother, ambitious career woman. She has it all and risks everything for her addiction. It’s a compelling story.
When people go to see a movie based off a novel, there is anticipation that the film will, or should be almost exactly like the book. As a writer, what is your take on that? What was the writing process like for you while adapting ADDICTED?
The process was very collaborative for me. Zane was one of the producers on the project — she was part of the team that selected me to write the screenplay, so I had her input and feedback along the way — which was important and helpful to getting the screenplay where we wanted it to be. The book is 325 pages and spans 20 years — so fans of the novel will realize you can’t include everything in a 100-minute movie, but I think they’ll like what they see. We remained true to the central story, even as we had to condense characters and plot points and make essential changes in the translation from the page to the screen.
What advice would you give to young female writers trying to get ahead and succeed in the film industry that is dominated by males?
Write great stories. Be confident and assertive. Don’t let statistics about female screenwriters in Hollywood get in your way. Break through that boys club with undeniably great material. Write a blog. E-publish short stories or novels and develop a following for your work. Technology makes it possible and affordable for us to shoot movies on our smartphones, edit them and put them on the internet for the world to see. Take advantage of that. Make short films based on your scripts and put them online, build a powerful fan base — as Zane did with her novels — and Hollywood won’t be able to tell you “no” because you have created a ready-made audience.
What can moviegoers expect to gain out of seeing ADDICTED? What message or insight will they walk out of the theatre with?
They will see a sexy, provocative, entertaining film with an excellent, great-looking cast that in the end, has something important to say about the impact of addiction on addicts and their loved ones.
Do you have an addiction? If so, what is it?
Writing! I write 24/ 7, whether I’m at the computer or not. I wake up with ideas, so I know I’m writing when I sleep, too! It’s a sickness! But one I’m happy to have had all my life, since childhood.
Besides “GO SEE IT”, what is one thing you can tell us about the movie? A mini spoiler alert perhaps?There’s a powerful and poignant reason why our lead character Zoe becomes addicted to sex — and that is revealed toward the end of the film.
We are certain that this will not be the last time you hear the name Christina Welsh. She has a next project in the works that will be announced very soon, so get familiar with her name.
ADDICTED stars Sharon Leal, Boris Kodjoe, and Dancing with the Stars finalist, William Levy. It hits theaters October 10th nationwide.
We want to hear from you! What’s your Addiction? Also, we want to know your thoughts and views of the movie when you see it.