Writing a screenplay and one day seeing that story on the big screen is a long shot for most screenwriters. Only about one percent of screenplays that are registered make it into full production.
Academy-Award winning director Kieth Merrill has had his fair share of success (45 produced films, an Academy Award for his film The Great American Cowboy in 1973 and a nomination in 1997 for Amazon), but the storyteller still has plenty of stories (31 in all) yet untold.
But Merrill has one story that had to be told – movie or not.
Now, 25 years after writing a short film that has never been produced, Merrill’s story of a struggling artist on a turbulent journey of self discovery will finally be brought to life in his debut novel The Evolution of Thomas Hall.
“I’m a story teller and storytellers want to have their stories told and heard,” Merrill said. “It’s really an extension of my filmmaking in a curious way. I’m trying to project the movies in my mind into the minds of others now through the written word.”
The Evolution of Thomas Hall is the story of an artist who has been commissioned to paint two conflicting murals – an honorarium to Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution, and a mural of Christ for a children’s hospital. The polarizing projects propel Thomas Hall into a turbulent journey of self discovery.
“The best stories are the ones in which we can find ourselves; stories that take us somewhere,” Merrill said. “I believe, at some point, everyone must confront the ponderous questions of life: science, faith, evolution, creation, and God. We wonder who we are, where we came from, is there meaning in the universe, and whether we survive the death of our brains.
“Taking this journey with Thomas Hall will hopefully broaden readers’ perspectives, open new windows, bolster faith, even offer answers, and help others discover things they have not known in their search for meaning.”
And the ironic twist? Now the screenplay that Merrill reworked into his debut novel has received interest from other filmmakers who are interested in purchasing the film rights.
The Evolution of Thomas Hall is on sale online and in select bookstores nationwide.