Ian Rankin reveals he’s a failed screenwriter


IN spite of worldwide success as a crime novelist, Ian Rankin has revealed his frustration that he never made it as a screenwriter.

The 55-year-old author revealed in an interview that he has written a script which has still not been produced.

Rankin said that he had worked his “guts out” on the project, but knew now that it would “never be made” – lamenting the process as a “frustrating experience.”

He went on to explain that he regretted the attempt, saying: “In the time I’d done that I could have written probably two novels, which would have been published and I’d have been happy.”


Rankin has developed a very devoted fanbase over the years
The 55-year-old author revealed in an interview that he has written a script which has still not been produced


The acclaimed Scottish author talked about his aspirations as a screenwriter in an interview earlier this week.

When asked whether he would ever write for the screen, he said: “I’ve done it, but nothing ever gets made which is really frustrating.

“Me and a mate of mine (who is a professional screenwriter) rented an office a few years ago and sat opposite each other and did a screenplay.”

“We had a producer and the producer got a director interested but couldn’t get the money. It’s a very tough thing to pull off.”

Rankin revealed that the screenplay was an adaptation of James Hogg’s novel The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner.

Rankin described the story as that of “17th century Edinburgh and a guy who’s got a friend who may be the devil or may be a figment of his imagination.

“Try putting that in 2D on a screen”, he added. “It’s not easy.

“We were happy with the screenplay but I know screenwriters and so often their stuff never gets made”

“That would kill me. If you’ve slogged your guts out and you’ve written something that you think is good, for it never then to get used.”

Rankin also said that cinema was particularly attractive to Scots owing to their shy nature.

“British people are really shy, and Scots especially. We don’t make eye contact much, and we don’t sit and stare at people – we don’t study them. We’re always a bit embarrassed about getting found out.

“So going to see a play or a film is the one time when you can actually study people. You can look them in the eye, as it were, without them looking back at you.”

He also revealed other pieces of movie-related trivia about his past in the interview, citing his favourite film as 1979 war epic Apocalypse Now – a movie which was famously mired in writing and production delays.

“I was living in a flat on Morrison Street when it came out, opposite what was the ABC (it’s now the Odeon) and went to see it when it came out”, he said.

“Then I raved about it to some mates and they said: ‘Oh, we’re going to go’ and I said: ‘I’ll come back. I’m going to see it again’.

“Then went on my own one afternoon and saw it again. I think I saw it three times in the first week.”