Novel by YSU English prof to hit big screen

Chris Barzak, a Youngstown State University assistant professor of English.

Chris Barzak

The movie version of One for Sorrow, a novel by YSU English assistant professor Chris Barzak, may soon be in a theater near you.

The film rights for the novel have officially been sold and filming is expected to begin shortly.

“To be honest, most book-to-film options never come to fruition, and I knew that from the beginning, so I never got my hopes up that I’d see my book truly made into a movie,” Barzak said.

“I remained grateful just that there was someone out there who had read the book and resonated with it so greatly that he went so far as to pay money to option the right to make it, and to continue renewing the option until he had a production company in place to make it happen. Now, I’m kind of dumbfounded that it’s really going forward.”

One for Sorrow is Chris Barzak's first novel and will be adapted to film.

One for Sorrow, Barzak’s first novel that will be adapted into film.

A native of Johnston, Ohio, Barzak earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from YSU and joined the faculty full-time in 2008. One for Sorrow, his first novel, was published by Bantam Books in fall 2007 and won the Crawford Award for Best First Fantasy.

Barzak said Carter Smith, who won a Sundance Film Festival Award for Best Short Film in 2007, will direct and write the screenplay for the movie. Smith directed his first feature length film in 2008 called The Ruins for DreamWorks. Hunting Lane Films will produce the film, and the executive producer will be John Logan, who has written screenplays for several successful movies, including Hugo, Any Given Sunday and Gladiator. Logan also won the 2010 Tony Award for Best Play for Red.

“With a crew like this, I feel like the book is in good hands,” he said.

He said the title of the movie will most likely be changed to Jamie Marks is Dead . “There will also be some slight changes to the novel’s version of the story, but a film based on a novel is never the same thing as a novel. I’m looking forward to seeing how the story plays out in this film version.”

Barzak said he has heard about some possibilities for the cast, but can’t confirm anything right now.

“This has been something I’ve been sitting on for so long now, so I’m really excited to finally be able to announce it,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what Carter makes of my story. It will be interesting and fun to be in the reader/viewer’s seat.”