Thursday, November 27th, 2014

Gone Hollywood

I’m on my way back from a quick trip to New Orleans to visit the set of the Magicians show.

This goes partway to explaining why I’m so hungover and underslept. There were other contributing factors. But we can definitely identify that as the root cause.

[BTW I wrote this yesterday, on the plane, when it was actually true, but I’ve only got around to posting it now. Just go with it.]

Visiting the set was a pretty flat-out amazing experience, even though there isn’t anything especially going on there yet. They’ve taken over a vast production facility in an industrial area outside New Orleans: a warren of offices attached to some huge empty factory spaces. One of them looks like this:

not shown: me really excited

They’re not actually shooting anything yet, but most of the cast of the show is there, living in hotels and rehearsing and generally being really talented and good-looking. They’re doing camera tests (that’s what’s happening in the picture) and trying out costumes and scouting locations and talking about special effects and things like that. The actor playing Quentin (who is amazing but who I think is still a secret so I can’t use his name) was practicing card tricks. The director, Mike Cahill, was stalking around figuring out technical stuff. Sera Gamble was supervising everything.

While I was there the actors did the first full read-through of the pilot script, at night, over pizza. This is the sort of thing you’re supposed to say, but I’m going to say it anyway because it’s true: they were amazing. (I performed the part of a Brakebills professor who hasn’t been cast yet. Crushed it.)

It was strange hanging out with people who are getting ready to tell these stories. I’m used to me doing that, and having that process take place inside my head. To have other people doing it, and to be outside it, on the periphery of it, is pretty surreal.

But surprisingly wonderfully so. I’m really impressed with the people who are doing it. They’re going to do some things with it that I cannot, cannot wait to see. More information about the show will leak out over the next few weeks, but it’s not supposed to leak from me, so I’m going to shut up now.

More news? There isn’t much more news. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work for Time and noodling with some new projects, as one does. On December 3 I’ll be onstage with, among others, Erin Morgenstern and Chuck Wendig at a celebration of Margaret Atwood’s 75th birthday at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Margaret Atwood will also be there. Come if you can, it’ll be a night to remember.

Also, if you’re thinking of buying a book by me as a holiday present, consider ordering it from Greenlight Bookstore. It’s my neighborhood bookstore in Brooklyn, and I like to support them, and more to the point if you buy books there I can go by and sign and personalize them.

14 comments on “Gone Hollywood

  1. Emma says:

    i made an extremely tired Margaret Atwood sign three of my books after a talk one time. Tell her I said hi.

    I felt bad afterwards.

  2. Church says:

    The facility sounds like the place they filmed “Battleship” and the later “Twilight” movies.

    So, there’s that.

  3. Heather Head says:

    Super cool!! I’ve been wondering if you were still keeping up the Time work what with your books going all universally famous and what-not. I’m sorry-glad to hear that you are. Glad: I’ve been missing your articles & look forward to some soon maybe. Sorry because good golly gracious, Lev, aren’t you doing enough???

    In improv, we do a storytelling game where one person tells a (completely un-rehearsed and totally true) story, and then the rest of the team acts out ridiculous (and hopefully hilarious) scenes based on that story. The first time I played, I told the story of the first time I had sex (Yes, I did. Yes, I am completely without shame), and it was absolutely the most fun thing in the world to see how the other players interpreted my story and made it come alive outside of my head.

    I sort of imagine that listening to actors play the parts of your characters must be a little like that on steroids, but with fewer virgins and more foxes. Wait, no, probably more virgins AND more foxes.

    Either way, it sounds like fun. Can’t wait for the pilot to come out so we can all join in. [Cue fan girl squealing.]

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Heather Head says:

    Hey–does this blog entry constitute an offer to sign any books purchased via Greenlight? Will you hate me forever if I Tweet to that effect and all six of my followers inundate you with requests?

  5. Leverus says:

    @Emma I’ll remind her

    @Church I’ll always have that

    @Heather I’ll totally sign anything purchased via Greenlight. I should tweet that too.

  6. Heather Head says:

    @Leverus yes, do, and put a time limit on it. For instance: “Make the purchase before Christmas to get the personalization” (you can totally fudge and continue the special after Christmas if you want to, but stating a limit will boost sales).

    [If only someone with extensive experience, passion, and a love for books and your books in particular would step forward and offer to help with your online marketing. ;)]

  7. Jaimie says:

    Hey, we’re reading The Magicians in the Nerdfighters Book Club this month! It’s on Goodreads. John started a book club this summer for Behind the Beautiful Forevers then ensuingly never discussed it again, but we’ve kept the dream alive. Thought you should know.

  8. Leverus says:

    @Jaimie That’s very cool. If you guys have questions for me, you have my e-mail.

  9. Blake Fraina says:

    Jason Ralph!!! Yay!!!

    Mr. G. – Did you see Peter and the Starcatcher? So awesome. This is all so awesome.

    I don’t think I can wait.

  10. cynic says:

    I am truly excited for this series of books to come to TV. I am only 2/3rds of the way through the books but at this point the only problem i have is with julia, TRUST ME i understand cynicism in the utmost feeling of the word. i dont just understand it, i have lived it. but in my honest opinion shes a bit to much of a self centered bitch. knowing just how most people work in most realistic situations. obviously its fiction but i dont even see my self relating with some of the feelings she has in any dimension.

  11. Corey Lyons says:

    Hello Mr. Grossman,

    I know I’m very late but I just found out that Syfy will be airing your triology come 2016. I was very excited when I heard this. When I watched the trailer I was scared. Quentin the actor is wayyy better looking than what I imagined Quentin in my mind lol. I seriously love the detail you placed in your books as I was reading. I know Quentin from the book, but Quentin on the television I don’t know him.

    I am very scared to even watch the t.v show because I’m afraid it will alter my perception of what you truly meant in your books.

    What would Lev Grossman do?

    FYI. I tell all my friends that “The Magicians” is a better and more relatable read than Harry Potter. My friends and I already place Harry Potter on a very high golden pedestal lol. GREAT JOB!

  12. Ravi says:

    Le de9bat sur l identite9 naiaontle est une pure construction ide9ologique c est du populisme e0 l e9tat brute, poserait-on la question e0 un Breton de savoir s il est Breton ou Frane7ais ? Poserait-on la question e0 un Alsacien s il e0 le sentiment d eatre Alsacien avant d eatre Frane7ais ? On oserait meame plus poser la question e0 un Savoyard alors d ou nous vient ce vieux fonds de commerce moisi et poussie9reux ?

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  14. […] world.  Fox optioned it, but passed, and Syfy picked it up and is putting together a pilot. Grossman himself visited the set last year, participated in the first read-through, and was amazed by the […]

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