'Paranoia' Author Joseph Finder Interview On The Film, Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford, 'Suspicion'
Joesph Finder is thrilled to see his best-selling book Paranoia turned into an all-star feature film with Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman. Paranoia traces the journey of Adam, a low-level employee at a high-tech corporation, who after manipulating the system for a friend, acts as a spy at a rival corporation to avoid jail time. “A friend of mine who worked in the CIA told me that there’s more espionage going on between corporations than between nations and I said that could be a cool idea for a thriller,” Finder told Uinterview in an exclusive fan interview.
Watching many changes between his novel and the film didn't faze Finder. “There is a lot more emphasis on a kind of generational difference between Adam and his bosses,” Finder told Uinterview. “In the movie it’s a lot more a feeling of 'us' versus 'them,' but the book is actually much more one guy's struggle.”
Finder is looking forward to the possibility of adapting his latest effort Suspicion into a screenplay on his own. “I love writing movie scripts, but it's really different from writing novels, it requires a specific skills set, but you know I would like to adapt one of my books into a movie I think that’s the next thing I’d like to try, I haven’t done that yet.”
From a friend of mine who worked in the CIA who told me that there’s more espionage going on between corporations than between nations, and I said that could be a cool idea for a thriller.
Well, I think it’s gotten a whole lot more common today than it was even when I wrote Paranoia, that book came out in 2004. It was going on a lot back then, now it’s just sort of taken off. So it was actually pretty pervasive when I wrote the book, now it's just gotten worse.
There’re a number of big differences. I don’t want to give any spoilers away. The movie is set in New York. In the book, I don’t say where it's happening really — it could be in Boston, it could be Silicon Valley. There is a lot more emphasis on a kind of generational difference between Adam and his bosses. In the movie, it’s a lot more a feeling of “us” versus “them” but the book is actually much more one guy's struggle. Those are some of the differences — his love interest in the movie has a different role. But otherwise the basic story lines are the same.
No. One of the screenwriters did talk to me about some of the plot’s points and some of the research and that was a good conversation — that was Berry Levy. Otherwise, I had no connection with the screenwriters, and nobody on the set asked for my advice. I mean I visited twice and I was a stranger.
Yeah, I met Liam, Gary Oldman, Harrison Ford, Lucas Till and the other actors who play the friends of Adam. Liam could not have been nicer he was just a really, really just amiable nice guy. I like Harrison. I liked Gary Oldman a lot, who I think is one of the greatest actors in the world. We talked a little between takes. When he’s working, he’s very, very serious about his work. He also seemed really nice. I had a good conversation with Harrison Ford at the premiere.
The character who plays Nicholas Wyatt, who’s played by Gary Oldman — I envisioned him as looking a lot different. I envisioned him as sort of a California muscle-bound little guy, sort of a cross between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Alec Baldwin, let's say. And so Gary Oldman is not what I imagined at all, but when I saw Gary do it I realized he makes a terrific villain. Harrison Ford is — I didn’t imagine as Jock Goddard, but that’s because when I wrote the book Harrison was younger. Harrison does an older guy — and what’s really brilliant about it is the fact that he shaves his head so he looks both kind of vulnerable and threatening, and that really works well. Richard Dreyfus plays Adam’s father in the book. Adam’s father is a complete jerk and not well liked. And Richard plays him as a lot more sympathetic. That’s what the main differences were like.
I don't really get it. There are days in which the prose isn't coming that easy, and usually what that means is that I need to do some more thinking about the storyline. I need to do some more plotting, and I need to do some more research. So it's kind of a warning sign. It's a job. You just gotta do it. So where do I get my ideas? Usually from talking to people, I mean the idea for Paranoia came from talking to a CIA guy about corporate espionage. I get ideas from people in conversation, sometimes I will read something in a magazine, and I'll start imagining where the story could go. I get ideas from all over.
I had a movie made called High Crimes based on the book High Crimes, with Morgan Freeman. But one of the differences is that in the case of High Crimes I was actually given a cameo role, which meant I got to act in the movie in five scenes, which was a blast. I didn’t get that opportunity in Paranoia that was one difference in the experience. Otherwise you know, it's pretty much the same. It’s a medium with the directors and producers run it, not the writers.
Well, my spin is that Edward Snowden should have stayed in the U.S. and faced the music if he wanted to be a whistle blower. If he was convinced of what he was actually doing, he should have made an appearance in court and made his point. I’m less impressed with Snowden, the information he reveled was incredibly important. The thing is that Bradley Manning and Snowden are both members of a generation that’s a lot younger than people running the intelligence establishments. And I think there’s less a sense of corporate loyalty, so I think we’re going to see more and more of this kind of thing simply because people are less and less loyal in the end.
I wrote and sold a pilot to CBS television and I wrote a script for Leo DiCaprio. I have done some film doctoring, some consulting work and doctoring scripts. I love writing movie scripts, but it's really different from writing novels. It requires a specific skills set, but I would like to adapt one of my books into a movie. I think that’s the next thing I’d like to try. I’d like to adapt my new book that just sold called Suspicion — I think that would make a really good movie.