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Salman Rushdie sold movie rights to 'Midnight's Children' for $1

April 24, 2013|By Greg Braxton

It took more than 30 years for "Midnight's Children," the Booker Prize-winning novel by Salman Rushdie, to be made into a movie. But his patience has paid off. The film, for which he wrote the screenplay, opens Friday in selected theaters.

In an appearence Tuesday night on "The Daily Show," Rushdie told host Jon Stewart that he never envisioned when he first wrote the book in 1981 that it would turn into this "big thing." The novel, which is about two siblings born at the stroke of midnight on Aug. 15, 1947 -- the moment India gained its independence from Britain -- is considered to be one of the top British novels ever written.

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The idea of a movie has proved problematic through the years due to its large scope and politics. Rushdie said he was having dinner with his friend, Deepa Metha, a few years ago in Toronto, and Metha asked about who had the rights to "Midnight's Children."

When Rushdie said he owned them, Metha asked if she could make a movie of it. "I said, OK, and that was the deal," Rushdie said. He added, "Then there was a fierce negotiation, and I sold her the option for $1."

Responded Stewart, "We in the business refer to that as 'bupkis.' " But Rushdie said the deal allowed him to retain creative control.

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