From Book to Screen – An Interview with AMC’s Leading Adapted TV Writers and Showrunners

Have you ever looked at a book or a comic and thought to yourself “that should a TV show?” Have you ever gotten excited when you discovered your favorite book or comic is going to be adapted into a TV show? Have you ever watched your favorite book or comic TV adaption and wondered, “that’s exactly how it was in my mind” or “what the hell were they thinking, this isn’t how it goes.”

Several critically-acclaimed authors, producers and showrunners provide unique insight into the development process of adapting a comic and book. As they share the importance of staying true to their source material, they also reveal their techniques and approach to properties that speak to an audience of extremely dedicated, knowledgeable and opinionated viewers.

Moderated by Cynthia Littleton, panelists included Scott M. Gimple, Chief Content Officer, The Walking Dead; Jami O’Brien, Showrunner/Executive Producer, Nos4a2; Sarai Walker, Author, Dietland; Marti Noxon, Showrunner/Executive Producer, Dietland; and Stephen Cornwell, Executive Producer, The Little Drummer Girl.

For new chief content officer for The Walking Dead universe Gimple never imagined adaptation one of the most popular and beloved zombie series, simply because it was hard to fathom Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic series as a television show.

I was a fan of The Walking Dead comic before I was working in television and then as I was working in television, and as I was reading it, it never crossed my mind that oh yeah this is going to be a TV show. In fact, I just never thought it would be a TV show, but then I saw those posters in Los Angeles and it was a photograph that recreated one of the panels and tore my mind open.

Thing can be even trickier when there’s a personal attachment to the original source material. For Cornwell, adaptating his father John le Carre’s The Little Drummer Girl‘s, it was important to balance the original source material while crafting his own voice and expanding the story to suit long-form storytelling.

There are multiple levels of expectation, there is a very personal commitment to him to try and do something that honors him and speaks to those stories and bringing them in to a new audience, often in the present. And actually today I think broadcast offers an extraordinary opportunity to do that, I think the golden years of television allow us to explore story and character and innovation and a cinematic form of storytelling, which is extremely exciting.

Check out the full interview below.