01 May S2 E12: An Interview with Deborah Kaufmann, VP of Literary Affairs at Legendary Entertainment
S2 E12: Talking Book Adaptations with Deborah Kaufmann, VP of Literary Affairs at Legendary Entertainment
By Marleen Seegers, Co-Founder of 2 Seas Agency and Host of The Make Books Travel Podcast
May 1st, 2021
Welcome to season 2, episode 12!
Book adaptations, which are yet another way to make books travel, are on the rise, and I’ve been wanting to speak to someone from the entertainment industry for a long time.
So I am especially pleased to have recently interviewed Deborah Kaufmann, VP of Literary Affairs at Legendary Entertainment.
Translated into lay, non-Hollywood terms, this means that Deborah is some sort of in-house scout for Legendary, in charge of finding literary properties that can be adapted to the big or small screen.
As you’ll find out, such properties can include books, but also unpublished short stories, podcasts, and news and magazine articles.
It was fascinating to discuss book adaptations with Deborah, get to know her day-to-day job a bit more in depth, and to hear her thoughts on the current state of the movie business and the revolution brought about by streaming giants such as Netflix and Amazon.
Here are some of the questions I asked Deborah:
- Please give us a brief introduction to Legendary Entertainment and describe your activities as VP of Literary Affairs
- What was it like to switch from being a book editor at a publishing house to working in the entertainment industry?
- What did a typical work day look like for you, pre-pandemic?
- What are you looking for in literary properties?
- The impact of the rise of streaming platforms such as HBO, Netflix, and Hulu on the entertainment industry is immense. How has this affected your job?
- How is the entertainment industry, and in particular the movie industry doing now, more than one year into the pandemic?
- What has the impact of the pandemic been specifically on your day-to-day activities at Legendary?
Deborah’s book recommendations:
Since 2014, Deborah Kaufmann has been overseeing acquisitions of literary properties for Legendary Entertainment’s film and TV divisions, and working in New York.
Previously, she was a senior editor based in Paris, publishing award-winning and international bestselling authors for 15 years – including Jenny Offill, Howard Jacobson, Claire Vaye Watkins, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Malala Yousafzai, Tana French, Anthony Horowitz, Walter Kirn, Elizabeth Gilbert, Audrey Niffenegger, Jeff Lindsay, and many others.
She also ran the Orbit France science-fiction and fantasy imprint.