Seth Grahame-Smith: ‘Zombies’ opens door

10 Screenwriters to Watch

Travis Beacham | Sheila Callaghan | Adam Cozad | Michael Diliberti | Tim Dowling | Lena Dunham | Seth Grahame-Smith | Simons & Schoolcraft | Mike Jones | Jones & McCormack

A little more than two years ago, Seth Grahame-Smith was busy working as an intern at CBS. A little more than two months ago, he was sitting down for drinks and dinner with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp in London.

Times have changed for the author-screenwriter.

In 2009, after his mash-up novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” made the New York Times bestsellers list, Grahame-Smith became a hot commodity in both the lit and film worlds.

He now finds himself working both ends as he adapts two of his novels for film: the aforementioned Jane Austen revamp, as well as this year’s “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.” He admits the transition is harder than one may think.

“While you may have sold 250,000 books, you have to sell 2 million tickets just on opening weekend,” he says. “You have to serve a much bigger and broader audience that is demographically different than the audience reading your books.”

Burton has faith in him. As producer on “Abraham Lincoln,” Burton liked Grahame-Smith’s script so much that he asked him to pen his next directorial outing, a reimagining of Dan Curtis’ gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows.” Depp is cast as the film’s lead, Barnabas Collins.

Under the banner Katzsmith Prods., which he formed with David Katzenberg, Grahame-Smith also recently dipped into television with the creation of MTV’s comedy series “The Hard Times of RJ Berger.”

“I know how hard I’ve worked to get here and how long it’s taken,” he explains. “I’m going to work even harder because now that I have my foot in the door, I want to keep it there.”

Age: 34
Provenance: Bethel, Conn.
Inspired by: “As a huge consumer of horror books as a kid, I’m an unabashed Stephen King junkie and have been since I was 12. On the film side, I grew up idolizing people like Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and Stanley Kubrick.”
Reps: Jeff Gorin, Cliff Roberts (WME); attorney: Gregg A. Gellman, Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein & Kohner