By Jeanne Sager
HOLLYWOOD, CA December 23, 2005 Its raining stars on Andrew Neiderman.
The former Fallsburg teacher has sent his newest project off for editing in New York.
But this time the internationally-known author, who has published 36 thrillers under his own moniker and dozens more under the penname V.C. Andrews, has sent off not a book but a movie.
Neiderman said filming has just finished on a film adaptation of his V.C. Andrews book Rain.
Raised in Fallsburg and an English teacher at the high school (where he was chair of the department), Neiderman saw his first book published in the early 1970s.
He took over the V.C. Andrews franchise when Flowers in the Attic author Virginia Andrews became ill and subsequently died as luck would have it, the two shared an agent and editor, and Neiderman sort of fell into the job.
Now one of those ghostwritten novels, the first in the Andrews Hudson series of four books, is a major motion picture.
Its nothing new for Neiderman.
His The Devils Advocate, published under his own name, became a hit for Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves.
And it was the movie adaptation of Pin that sent his career spinning, helping him make the tough decision to leave teaching and his beloved Fallsburg.
Right now the plan is to send Rain into theaters in the spring or summer of 2006, with a DVD release in the fall with a copy of the prequel novella.
This is a long way from where Neiderman first saw his book when he partnered with the legendary Merv Griffin to make a film adaptation.
We went out to make a television movie of the week, Neiderman recalled. We partnered up with a major Hollywood show runner, VonZernick-Sertner a show runner is a production entity that handles the basic development of the project and has a good reputation and history with the networks.
In this case, we sold it quickly to CBS, Neiderman continued. We developed it there, but reality shows were taking more and more showtime from films, and CBS decided to cut back on their movies of the week.
The project then went into what we call turnaround in Hollywood and the rights reverted to Griffin Entertainment.
Thats when Griffin and Neiderman decided the film should be made and go straight to DVD rather than airing on television or going through the current, frustrating Hollywood scene.
Neiderman returned to the drawing board, taking his novel and writing up an edgier, more character-driven and action-packed script that attracted the necessary financial backers.
Using his experience from The Devils Advocate, Neiderman called up filmmaker Craig DiBona who worked on Advocate and films like A League of Their Own and Carlitos Way.
With DiBona lined up, the next step was casting, Neiderman explained.
The script then attracted bigger actors than we had anticipated even though it was a low-budget movie, he said.
Faye Dunaway agreed to star along with Robert Loggia, Khandi Alexander of CSI: Miami, and Giancarlo Esposito.
The film will be the first for Brooklyn Sudano, the actress/singer daughter of disco queen Donna Summers, who is starring as Rain herself.
Once we had those performers and Craig, we scheduled principal photography and were soon attracting more and more interest, Neiderman explained. The project then took another turn upward and is now the subject of interest for a theatrical run as well as a DVD movie.
Simon and Schuster/Pocketbooks got very interested in developing a tie-in package and has brought in major advertising, including the use of the Viacom moving sign in Times Square and advertisements in over 2 million books as well as Internet advertisements, Neiderman continued. With the foreign sales potential of the V.C. Andrews franchise and all this, the movie is looking very exciting now.
Principal photography was done in Dallas, Texas, and editing is currently being done in New York by Rob Reitano who worked on Sleepless in Seattle and Billy Bathgate.
For Neiderman, this is just another bump in the road, albeit an exciting one.
Hes working on one of his thrillers many of which are set in Sullivan County and expects to see Finding Satan published in September.
Another V.C. Andrews book, Girl in the Shadows, is slated for publication in March, followed by Broken Flowers in October.