Full Fathom Five is James Frey’s latest project. We all remember Frey, right? The notorious author of the ‘memoir’ A Million Little Pieces, he’s now using his notoriety – er, sorry, industry contacts – to get young and bright-eyed MFAs published, with aims at movie deals for all of them.
Sounds great, right?
Except that said MFAs don’t get to claim credit for it. Their names appear nowhere on the published book. The recent movie I Am Number Four was put out by Full Fathom Five, and the author has sued for the right to claim in public that he wrote the original novel. He’s now allowed to talk about it, but his name still doesn’t appear on the book.
It’s an interesting concept, a think tank for coming out with cool young adult novels, surrounded by other people trying to do the same thing, with someone acting as literary agent for the whole group. Even the idea of branding as a think tank more than as a collection of individual writers is kind of fun, in concept.
Where Full Fathom Five falls off into creepy and exploitative is that James Frey is modeling it after Damien Hirst’s art factory – it’s all to be rewritten to his orders, and bear his stamp more than that of the writer, or even of the collective, for low wages and no recognition. The contract is a nightmare.
Which is why, despite pretty people and sparkly special effects in the previews, I will not be seeing I Am Number Four, or any future project from Full Fathom Five that makes theatres.