Hollywood loves Kiwi novel

Last updated 09:49 20/03/2014
Ben Sanders
ACCOMPLISHED AUTHOR: Ben Sanders’ fourth novel American Blood has been optioned by Hollywood film company Warner Bros.
Ben Sanders
HOLLYWOOD HUNK: Actor Bradley Cooper is set to play the lead character and produce the film under his company 22 & Indiana Pictures

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Writer Ben Sanders watched the hit movie The Hangover but never imagined its star would want to make a film based on his unfinished novel.

But two-time Academy Award-nominated actor Bradley Cooper is indeed lined up to produce and act in American Blood - the book Sanders is working on.

The film rights for Sanders' novel have been optioned by the Warner Brothers film company despite the story being only two-thirds finished.

"I couldn't be happier someone like him is attached," the 24-year-old Torbay writer says.

Several hurdles lie in the way before the film is confirmed for production so Sanders says he'll sit back and see what happens over the next few months.

He aims to complete American Blood over the next six weeks and the book is set for release in late 2015.

Cooper is "going stratospheric", Sanders says, after starring in a string of critically lauded films including Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle.

Sanders has spoken with the actor's business partner and eventually hopes to meet the A-lister.

It's a dream come true for a man who's had to work hard to make writing a full-time job.

"I don't know, I guess I've been lucky - I went to New York mid-last year and had this last-minute thought to meet with a publisher," he says.

"Writing's always been a dream of mine so I had to go out and fight to make it happen."

Having his book optioned for the big screen at just 24 years old is a huge accomplishment but Sanders puts it down to luck.

The editor at his New York publisher Macmillan also heads up its film division.

Sanders heard in February the movie company Warner Bros was interested and just last weekend read about the deal on top film news website The Hollywood Reporter.

American Blood follows a New York police officer undercover as a mob informant.

Things take a twist and he winds up in witness protection in New Mexico.

American Blood is part of a two-book contract Sanders has signed. His previous three novels have all been New Zealand-based.

Sanders often walks his dog at Long Bay Beach for inspiration and says there is a surge of interest in Kiwi authors.

"New Zealand writers have the potential to be as good as others anywhere in the world."

Eleanor Catton, who won the Man Booker Prize last year for The Luminaries, has helped put New Zealand on the map,  Sanders says.

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"Amazingly talented" Kiwis, including North Shore residents Lorde and Lydia Ko, are also helping put the spotlight on homegrown talent, he says.

- North Shore Times

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