James Frey’s memoir of crime and drug-addiction A Million Little Pieces caused quite a stir when it was published in 2003. It caused an even bigger stir when The Smoking Gun revealed that sections of the memoir were, in fact, fabricated. Now power couple Aaron and Sam Taylor-Johnson will adapt the book for the big screen.
Image Via Behance
In 2005, before the revelations, Frey’s book was the biggest seller in the USA, second on to the latest Harry Potter, due to its selection for Oprah’s Book Club. Oprah waxed lyrical about Frey’s work, declaring it ‘like nothing you’ve ever read before.’ A bidding war for film rights was won by Warner Bros., with Brad Pitt set to produce and Frey writing the screenplay. But then Frey was outed. According to The Smoking Gun:
Police reports, court records, interviews with law enforcement personnel, and other sources have put the lie to many key sections of Frey’s book. The 36-year-old author, these documents and interviews show, wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms, and status as an outlaw “wanted in three states.”
In addition to these rap sheet creations, Frey also invented a role for himself in a deadly train accident that cost the lives of two female high school students. In what may be his book’s most crass flight from reality, Frey remarkably appropriates and manipulates details of the incident so he can falsely portray himself as the tragedy’s third victim.
I remember impulse buying the book when I saw it on sale for a weirdly low price, like €3 or something, knowing nothing about it. It sounded interesting. I googled it when I got home and discovered the truth. As a result, I, like Oprah, felt duped. What’s up, Oprah, we’ve got something in common. Let’s chat?
Image Via Daily Mirror
Anyway, apparently the writing is undeniably good, and though it may not be true, the story is impressive and well-crafted. The Taylor-Johnsons definitely think so, and are working on adapting the novel, with Aaron starring and Sam directing. There is no release date yet, and it is unclear to what extent Frey will be involved. This will be the first time the couple have collaborated since their feature Nowhere Boy in 2009.
Despite being largely fabricated, the story does sound intriguing. After all, it wasn’t a bestseller for nothing. I’m interested to see how the Taylor-Johnsons approach the project, whether or not they’ll make it weirdly meta and reference that some is true and some made-up, but we shall see.
Featured Image Via Oprah