5:00 pm EDT, May 4, 2018

Christina Lauren talks ‘Roomies’ adaptation, writing screenplays, and how Jenna Dewan discovered their novel

Bestselling author team Christina Lauren has hit a new milestone as their novel Roomies is heading to the big screen!

If you haven’t heard the wonderful news yet, yesterday it was revealed by Variety that Roomies by Christina Lauren is being adapted!

The project is being headed by Andy Fickman, who will serve as director and producer, while Jenna Dewan, Betsy Sullenger, and Jean Song will also serve as producers.

And perhaps the best news of all is that Christina Lauren will be writing the screenplay themselves!

Related: Roomies book review: Christina Lauren’s take on a marriage of convenience is absolute perfection

Can you talk a bit about how this all started?

Jenna Dewan read about Roomies in Entertainment Weekly, and picked it up! She and her production partner, Jean Song, contacted our film agent, Brandy Rivers, and then Christina and I had a really great call with Jean. We knew after that conversation that we all wanted to work together to bring Roomies to life. Jenna and Jean took it to the Oops Doughnuts team, Andy Fickman and Betsy Sullenger (who, as it happens, are the execs for Liv & Maddie, which is my kids’ FAVORITE show ever and I totally fangirled them when we first met). Andy came aboard as director, Betsy as producer.

We all got together at the Oops offices, and it was the easiest, most energetic meeting you can imagine. We love that Andy is not only versed in film and television, of course, but that he’s also a Broadway director and has so many perfect anecdotes to really bring some authenticity to the story. Jenna and Jean both felt such a direct and immediate connection to the book and it really showed in our meeting. Lastly, Betsy Sullenger, who had already read all of the CLo books out there before this one landed on her desk, has experience writing for TV and film, and is such a good resource for us at this stage.

They all have such wonderful ideas for changes to the story, we LOVE that they want us to adapt it ourselves. It all feels sort of fated.

How did you react when you heard there was interest in adapting Roomies?

Oh, completely elated. This is such a great opportunity for Christina and I to adapt one of our novels, and Roomies is a perfect book for it because the story lends itself so well to a rom com translation.

How hard was it to not fangirl when you got to meet the Roomies team (Jenna Dewan, Andy Fickman, Betsy Sullenger, and Jean Song)?

The vibe in the offices was so electric; I think we all knew it was a good fit from the very first introduction. So, there was no need for anyone to try to play it cool. Everyone was fannish and effusive; it was honestly the loveliest day.

I know you’ve been continually working on a script for Beautiful Bastard; have you started working on the script for Roomies yet? If so, how is it different working on a script for a rom com?

The Beautiful Bastards TV pilot is alive and kicking, fear not. Writing the pilot for that was really fun because it allowed us to go back to those books and reimagine them as something totally different. Instead of focusing on one couple, the pilot opens with the first three bachelors (Bennett, Max, and Will) before any of the Beautiful women come onto the scene. We’ve had so much fun playing in that sandbox again.

The Roomies adaptation has been a dream experience so far, and we aren’t exaggerating. All four of the people on the director/producer team (Andy, Jenna, Jean, Betsy) are incredibly hands-on and helpful. Usually, before a script is drafted, a treatment is written that outlines all of the essential events, conflicts, and beats. We’d never done that before; when we did a rewrite and polish on the original Beautiful Bastard script (written by Stephanie Sanditz), we started with a completed screenplay and worked in that.

So this was a very different beginning and we can already see how helpful it will be to have that treatment done before starting the script—it outlines everything we want to see happen and gives us a really thorough blueprint. Everyone is so patient and responsive. It’s an honor to get to work with them.

Readers are really used to getting several novels each year from you girls. Are you expecting to have to slow down writing novels in order to focus on the script for Roomies for a while?

Not a chance. We’ll keep writing as fast as you can read. We have our next romantic comedy Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating out on September 4th—a book we absolutely ADORE—and then our next, My Favorite Half Night Stand, is out on December 4th. So far it looks like we have at least two books planned for 2019.

I think Roomies really lends itself to becoming a story on screen. Did you purposely write it that way?

We didn’t, no, but we definitely watched more movies than usual while we were brainstorming—such as Green Card, Once, While You Were Sleeping, etc—so maybe that influence comes through!

What are some of the changes you’re anticipating on making for the screenplay?

So far, everything we’ve planned to change feels completely organic, and we think these changes will make perfect sense to CLo readers. It’s a little early to speak too concretely about anything, though, since the script isn’t finished.

What do you think are some of the key scenes that need to make it into the film?

The attack in the subway station, the audition for the uncles, the wedding, the vibrator-in-the-couch scene (hehe), and of course, all of the sexual tension. Honestly, it looks like a lot of it will translate as-is really well. We just need to beef up the Broadway aspect so that feels more visceral and authentic. We hope to get a lot of scenes of rehearsals and performances because we think the music is really what will bring this book to life.

Fantasy casting?

No idea!

Anything else you want fans to know?

Just how grateful we are for their excitement. Our phones have been blowing up, and it’s honestly the best feeling. The reason this got picked up is because readers are stomping their feet asking for more rom coms. Keep shouting about it, because if they get adapted and do well, we’ll get even more of our favorite books translated to screen.

Stay caught up with Christina Lauren on their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, and official website!

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