TODAY’S BREW: Cinnamon Hazelnut times 70
Lots and lots of people visited my post https://juliehutchings.net/2020/06/27/harassment-in-sff-my-long-awaited-opinion/ yesterday. Someone must have gotten caught doing something to spark it that I missed while I was pushing the new HARPY sequel (up for preorder right now: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08PVYPMX8?notRedirectToSDP=1&ref_=dbs_mng_calw_1&storeType=ebooks). It got me thinking about that book and people and sexual impropriety and Hollywood.
THE HARPY is represented for film and tv by agents that I have complete faith in and that have great belief in this story. We think this is the right time for it. HARPY was completed long before the #MeToo movement began, it was not a response to it, but it sure as hell is in support of it. Charity Blake is a sexual abuse survivor who never came forth. She ran away from the abuse, but it didn’t stop her self-worth and lifestyle choices from being determined by it. Those feelings festering inside her are what turn her into the Harpy, a hideous form that doles out her own justice. She’s Batman but with worse-than-Joker methods, and less friendly than both. But she’s definitely not Harley Quinn, with her generic craziness and idealism of her abuse at Joker’s hands.
*the screams of DC fans puncture the night*
Harley’s immense popularity had her headlining the Birds of Prey movie. This was around the same time that the Black Widow movie was getting publicized, not long after Captain Marvel came out and the question about those movies I often heard wasn’t the age-old Mary Jane one but its new friend, Can a female superhero carry her own movie? (left out of this equation are Wonder Woman ’84 and Dark Phoenix for different reasons that don’t contribute.)
Now, if Harley Quinn, who’s edgy for her clothing choices and generic lunacy, and has no superpowers can headline a movie, why did Black Widow, who took forever to get her own movie, and Captain Marvel, who I’ve loved in comic and movie form, get the occasional eye roll? Black Widow, who I’ve heard accused of being one-dimensional, and Captain Marvel, seemingly without flaw aside from her lack of emotion (which is part of her character, by the way.) Perhaps they needed more ass showing. But I digress.
This timeframe is when THE HARPY was making its first rounds being pitched for tv and film. My agents, my publisher, we all thought it would be well-received in the aspect of Charity’s very clear take on sexual abuse and her rocky rise from it. In light of women coming forth about the injustices they’d suffered in Hollywood, conventions, everyday life, at the hands of the goddamn POTUS, without consistent belief or consequences, we thought THE HARPY was a story that needed to be heard. While we continue to get a lot of great response, the consensus has been that the industry won’t be touching anything with sexual abuse for a while. So why IS that? It’s got us a bit stumped. I’ve half-heartedly offered to tone it down, but the agency is firm in the book staying as-is–and I really agree. Quite a bit of the book is shocking, but I was careful not to make it about shock value. It’s certainly worthy of a trigger warning, but what I wrote is intrinsic to understanding why Charity sees the world the way she does, why she dresses the way she does, why she makes the choices she does, why she is who she is, and why she both does and doesn’t want to change. It has reason.
THE HARPY definitely is a success in its own rite, and championed by my team at WME, Inked Entertainment, and Audible, and I’m thrilled with the support it’s continuously getting, this is not a woe-is-me post at all. Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee the height this book has gone to. Every “rejection” to me sends my heart aflutter. “I was told my book was too much for both X actor/producer AND X horror guys today!” is a claim to fame that I love to throw around. I love it. I wonder if I’m being let down easy because I’m completely unknown and/or that I’ve been an impostor all along, or if there truly is a point at which we as a society don’t want to see this level of darkness associated with sexual abuse and an antihero.
Thanks for listening to my self-indulgent rambling as always! Leave me your thoughts, and maybe you’ll get your very own copy of THE HARPY and/or THE HARPY 2: EVOLUTION to read and review!