It is a truth universally acknowledged that every time you read Melissa Rosenberg‘s name, it will be preceded by the phrase “Twilight scribe.” I mean, it makes sense: Rosenberg has adapted all four Twilight books into all five movies to the tune of 1.8 billion dollars worldwide. And that’s without the box office receipts for the last two films. By the time Breaking Dawn Part 2 hits theaters next November, she will be the highest-grossing female screenwriter ever — which is good news for women everywhere, because Melissa Rosenberg is going to have her way in Hollywood. And Melissa Rosenberg is all about empowered female writers crafting stories about dynamic female characters.
Rosenberg at the Twilight: Breaking Dawn premire.
Here’s a look at what’s on Rosenberg plate in the post “Twilight-scribe” world:
Penoza — Every wonder what would happen if The Sopranos had killed off Tony and placed the entire Soprano clan in the hands of Edie Falco‘s Carmela? Well, you’re about to find out. Penoza is an American adaptation of a Dutch drama about a mobster whose widow finds herself in charge of the family business after her husband is assassinated. Rosenberg told Movieline: “I love [this] theme for women: Stop standing by! You’ve got to make stuff happen! You’ve got to create your own world because if you let other people do it, they’re going to just screw you. So it’s really about a woman taking the reins of her life, having been put in this position by her own complacency and now stepping up.” We approve!
AKA Jessica Jones — If I say “Wonder Woman,” you say, “Whoo! Superhero!” If I say “Jessica Jones,” you say, “Wait, who?” Which may be a good thing. Jessica Jones is a second-string Marvel heroine who went through hell as a supervillain’s hostage for eight months only to realize upon being accidentally rescued that no one else in Marvel’s universe even knew she was missing. And so she became a private detective, straddling the line between human and hero.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones
Wonder Woman is a character about whom every person on earth had an opinion — “Her costume is wrong!” “Her hair is wrong!” “Her script is wrong!” — and her recent TV adaptation failed spectacularly. Jessica Jones is a character about whom very few people have an opinion — and that means the door is open for Rosenberg to explore a woman who, according to her, ” is really damaged and flawed and has post-traumatic stress disorder.” You know, like if Veronica Mars could fly.
Earthseed — 1983 sci-fi novel Earthseed is a kind of like if Lord of the Flies met Brave New World met The Hunger Games. A group of spaceship-grown and raised teenagers are given an earth-like planet, and the results are … exactly what you think the results would be like if you unleashed that kind of hormonal imbalance into the wild with no supervision. Only, unlike Lord of the Flies, Earthseed has a female heroine in Lauren Olamina. “She starts off as someone who is content with playing by the rules and being a ‘good girl,'” Rosenberg told The Hollywood Reporter, “and then has to realize that the rules are malleable and that she has to step forward as a leader. It’s really about coming into one’s own power and embracing one’s own strength and individuality.”
In addition to all that writing she’s doing, Rosenberg also works with the Writer’s Guild Diversity Committee and the League of Hollywood Women Writers, which she co-founded to “fight the boy’s club mentality” in Hollywood writer’s rooms. Penoza and AKA Jessica Jones have already been scooped up by ABC, and Paramount plans to turn Earthseed into a feature film. (There are two sequels to the original novel, which Paramount has also acquired the rights to produce.)
Our AfterEllen.com staff is always talking about how we need more female voices in Hollywood. More directors, more producers, more editors, more writers. And with Melissa Rosenberg’s recent successes, it looks like we’re getting our wish.
Which of Rosenberg’s projects sounds most exciting to you?