Ahead of this weekend's Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro-starring release, we spoke to The Dark Fields author Alan Glynn on the ten-year struggle to bring Limitless to the silver screen, supposed 'hissy fits' and his advice for young writers.
Opening in Irish cinemas this weekend, Limitless stars The Hangover's Bradley Cooper as an unpublished writer whose life is transformed by a top-secret drug that allows him to use 100% of his brain's capabilities and become the perfect version of himself.
With a top class cast that includes Robert De Niro and Abbie Cornish, director Neil Burger's thriller topped the US box office last weekend, taking $18.9m in its first three days. Limitless also has a surprising backstory – the movie is adapted from Dublin author Alan Glynn's 2001 novel, The Dark Fields.
We spoke with the writer on the struggle for his work to make it to the silver screen in the intervening ten years, Shia Labeouf's earlier involvement and Glynn's advice for young writers looking to emulate his success.
JOE: The first thing I have to say is that congratulations are in order - Limitless has got brilliant reviews and went top of the US box office. I imagine you were watching the box office returns as they came in this weekend. Were you kept in constant contact about that?
Alan Glynn: Well I followed them online because I was aware that that’s how it works, the opening weekend is the big thing. I wouldn’t have been too aware of that before but from talking to the producers, they’re very, very conscious of that.
I just started following it and before last weekend, they really didn’t know what was going to happen, it was an open race. They had Limitless, there was The Lincoln Lawyer, Paul and a few holdovers from last week, so they genuinely didn’t know what was going to happen. So they were very happy that we won.
JOE: So you wrote the book that Limitless is based on, The Dark Fields, back in 2001 and you’ve since written Winterland and began to raise a family. It’s been ten years now since the book was first optioned, is it possible to give us the cliff notes of the past decade?
AG: [Laughs] It’s a long time, isn’t it? One of the producers was telling me that ten years, for him, was normal. It’s the financing that takes time and then getting a director and a star together.
It’s all in sync and if one of those elements falls out of place then the whole thing falls apart and you’re back to square one. And that’s basically what happened several times over the course of ten years. They were trying to get it together, they’d almost have it and then something would fall out of place and the whole thing’s gone.