While many directors were interested in bringing Emma Donoghue‘s popular novel “Room” to the big screen, Lenny Abrahamson was the lucky one after a “kind of courtship” with the author.
“He wrote me a 10-page letter about how he would film this book,” Donoghue said in a video exclusive to TheWrap. “And I just thought, ‘oh, he just completely gets me!'”
Donoghue wrote the book in 2010, which follows Ma and her five-year-old son who live in a 11-by-11 foot room after she was kidnapped by Old Nick seven years prior. Since its publication, the book has sold over two million copies and won multiple awards, including Bloomberg’s 2010 Top Novel and it was named one of New York Times’ six best fiction titles of 2010.
The story is a dark, traumatic one, and Abrahamson knew it would be a difficult film to adapt — however, he says that due to him having a four-year-old little boy at the time that “Room” filmed, he felt he understood just how impactful the story was.
“It was an overwhelming connection to that character,” said Abrahamson. “I had a belief that I sort of understood how to bring this to the screen. It just all came together.”
And Donoghue agreed: “It felt as if he and I were both together, trying to translate the spirit of the book.”
Brie Larson, who plays Ma received a standing ovation and the Audience Award after the film’s premiere at Toronto International Film Festival. She credits her powerful portrayal of her character to Abraham’s direction and support.
“Lenny is the best person to go on a journey like this with,”said Larson. “There were certain days that were very difficult subject matter and scenes, but I do it knowing that he will protect me.”
“Room” hits theaters this Friday, and already has a 97 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.