PW Exclusive: James Frey Talks Endgame
By Rachel Deahl
James Frey doesn’t do things in a quiet way. Since his literary career imploded after questions surfaced about the veracity of his addiction memoir, A Million Little Pieces, Frey has moved on to bigger projects. In 2010 he launched his own company called Full Fathom Five, to package young adult novels and series. While some in the press railed against the outfit as a “fiction factory,” it has been productive. FFF was behind the YA series-turned-film I Am Number Four and, yesterday, announced its most ambitious project to date: a multi-platform series called Endgame that will feature a geo-location game (created by Google), a series of books and novellas co-written by Frey (to be published by HarperCollins), and a forthcoming film adaptation (being produced by 20th Century Fox).
Endgame, for which the film rights alone fetched a reported $2 million, is the kind of elaborate project, exploiting IP across a range of media, that many in publishing feel is the future. Frey talked to PW about the series, the intricacies of orchestrating a story that will exist in multiple forms, and whether he’s still angry about being ambushed on Oprah.PW: Can you explain how the project came together? Were you conceiving of the storyline, initially, as just a book? A book and a movie?
JF: It was conceived as a project that would exist across multiple platforms, and that the story would be told in books, novellas, games, film, and TV. [We also knew it] would have a social media presence, and exist in places – such as search results and mapping coordinates and YouTube – that aren’t traditionally mediums for storytelling and writing.
PW: When did the gaming element come into play?
JF: My first conversations with Google Niantic were approximately a year ago.
— HarperCollins to Publish New Novels by James Frey – NEW YORK TIMES
— Google’s Niantic follows Ingress with Endgame – C|NET
— ‘Pieces’ Author Frey Has Multibook, Media Deal – ABC NEWS
— James Frey wins $2m deal for young adult SF novel – THE GUARDIAN
— ‘Pieces’ author Frey has multibook, media deal – WASHINGTON POST
— HarperCollins, Google’s Niantic Labs, 20th Century Fox Collaborate With Bestselling Author James Frey On Next Generation Cross-Media Project, ENDGAME – WALL STREET JOURNAL MARKETWATCH
— ‘Pieces’ author Frey has multi-book, media deal – THE JAMAICA OBSERVER