Anthony Horowitz happy with TV version of Alex Rider

Rick's Reviews
Alex Rider

Otto Farrant reprises his role as the title character in “Alex Rider” for a second season on IMDb TV. (Photo courtesy of IMDb TV)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Writing is a very personal experience for an author. An idea must be nurtured and cultivated until it grows into something that has a large appeal. This relationship faces a crucial crossroads when the author agrees to sell the rights to the writing to a company that will adapt it into a film or TV series.

Anthony Horowitz has faced that moment a couple of times. The first came in 2006 when his first book in the long-running Young Adult book series featuring the character of Alex Rider was made into the feature film “Stormbreaker.”

The most recent adaptation has been the IMDb TV series “Alex Rider.” A second season dealing with the young spy will launch on Dec. 3 on the streaming service.

Horowitz found the right way to have others adapt his work.

“Guy Burt (series creator) has done a tremendous job with the adaptations but I was always there working with him. Throughout season two, we have talked and talked about every episode,” Horowitz says. “There is a sense of what are you going to do with it. What is going to come out the other side? You have lost control.

“The moment the script arrives in the producer’s hands, you have to trust the producers. It helps that I have a good and close relationship with those making the show.”

What Horowitz has helped create is a series based on his book franchise which has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Alex Rider is a London-based teenager who has unknowingly been trained since childhood for the dangerous world of espionage.

The second season is based on the fourth book in the series, Eagle Strike. Alex is still reeling from the traumatic events at Point Blanc and desperately wants to return to a normal life. When his new friend Sabina’s father is attacked, Alex finds himself drawn back into the world of international espionage.

One of the big changes between the books and the TV series is the evolution of the character. Horowitz saw how he had slowly changed the character through the 14 books sped up to happen in two seasons of the TV show.

“In the books, Alex doesn’t evolve quite as much as he does in the TV series because Otto Farrant, who plays him, is older than the character is in the book. He is a 14-year-old in the books but in the series we very carefully don’t mention how old he is,” Horowitz says. “I think therefore he is more affected by what happens in the TV series than what happens in the books which continue to be adventures. It is true by the time you get to the later books you definitely have a kid who is quite damaged by what has happened to him.

“Think about it. Take any young person, put them in danger, have them being shot at, have them see people being killed and seeing evil at close range and it is going to have an effect on you. That took 14 books for that to happen but in two seasons of the TV show Alex has already gotten there.”

Horowitz is comfortable with Alex Rider changing whether it be in the TV show or in his books. He has constantly been surprised during the 20 years of writing the books just how much the character has surprised him.

“There is a lot of YA fiction about children who lose their parents who look for vengeance. The orphan against the world. With Alex, in the books, I was able to examine that more,” Horowitz says.

The Alex Rider series has been his most successful writing franchise but Horowitz – who says that writing is his life – has penned a variety of other works. His includes the two Sherlock Holmes novels, two novels featuring detective Atticus Pund and three novels featuring himself paired with fictional detective Daniel Hawthorne.

The Ian Fleming estate selected Horowitz to write the James Bond novels Trigger Mortis and Forever and a Day.

Despite his association with iconic literary characters, his tales of Alex Rider have been his most successful.

“If you ask me what has made Alex Rider resonate so much in YA fiction and on TV, I have to go back to the fact that he is reluctant. He doesn’t really want to be a hero,” Horowitz says. “When I was writing books for kids in my very first days, the heroes knew they were heroes. They enjoyed being heroes. The fact that Alex wanted to be ordinary and have a life struck a chord with young people. It was the right book at the right time.”

And those books have been turned into a successful series with some help from Horowitz.

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