Harlan Coben talks about his unique Netflix deal as he saw his books adapted for TV shows in Spain, France, Poland and more.


With 75 million copies of his novels circulating around the world, he is an American writer. Harlan Cobain He conquered the print world with his iconic crime thriller brand, including the Myron Bolitar series.

It is now taking great steps towards the new frontiers of broadcasting, with a unique agreement with Netflix. The deal was first signed in 2018 and is a five-year, multi-million dollar deal under the terms in which 14 of Cobain’s books will be adapted into series or films for the internet platform as he oversees projects of various qualities.

The long-term

In addition to its massive reach, the deal is also unique in that it is designed to be vibrant international from day one, as English-language novels are adapted into a variety of foreign languages ​​at various Netflix production centers in Europe. Until now, there have been changes in Poland (Woods(Spain)Innocent(Issued April 30) and France (It is gone forever, To be published later this year), along with English-language projects including the stranger And next Stay close.

Sometimes Cobain cuts down on the adjustments himself, other times he takes over, especially when the language changes and behaves like an EP. But as he explains below, he always has a creative approach to materials. As if he wasn’t busy enough, Cobain recently adapted his novel YA Shelter At Amazon Prime Video, and has other business projects at Apple and MGM International.

Limit He sat with a prolific author and creator to discuss closing the Netflix deal, why he would like to see his work adapt to the world’s languages, and what he does.

Limit: You’re on tour heavy with your own TV series.Also, you are still writing new novels, where does your energy come from?

Harlan Cobain: It is love of storytelling. I love doing this, it’s the only thing I’m good at. I have no other life. They asked me once, “If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?” A friend of mine told me, “An American Senator.” I was like, “Oh please, I’ll be the quilt cover.” I don’t have anything else.

Limit: How did your deal with Netflix start?

Two glasses: He did 2 TV shows in France for TF1 that did very well and hit Netflix’s radar. We do safety together [Coben and his producers at Red Production Company] With Netflix’s international division, they wanted to do a show in France, to show in the UK, and then they came up with the idea. [for the overall deal]. They want to do a lot of international things and my books sell well abroad. I sell more internationally than I sell in the United States. I thought it would be a great opportunity to do a show on Netflix Spain, Netflix France, Netflix UK and Netflix in the US. It was attractive to me.

The idea was to have an interesting talent that you wouldn’t normally have in TV series. Innocent Director Oriol Paulo is a brilliant movie director in SPAN. [Lead actor] Probably, Mario Casas would be a great star as he is in Spain. I joined Netflix, and it was a huge collaboration. I really like working with them, which is unusual for a network or streaming device. I hate that term, but we had a shared vision of what we wanted to do. They won’t pressure me in Season 2, Season 3, Season 4 or Season 5. I can do six turns, eight or ten laps. All it takes to make the story work.

It’s also very exciting for me, and for the talents involved, one day the series released all eight episodes in 190 countries. More than 200 million subscribers, how many are there? Everything at once. It’s a great space to be around.

Having the opportunity to work with Netflix, with so many different people, in many different countries and in many different cultures, if that doesn’t bother you, you might be in the wrong business.

Limit: Are you ready to launch the series? How can you control it?

Two glasses: Foreman [The Innocent] Already on my Netflix. My wife and I watched the eight episodes to see what the dubbing was like. I’ll wake up the next day and be flooded with comments, which isn’t the case with the book. In two or three days, I think millions of people have seen all eight.

Limit: It’s interesting to say “I guess” since Netflix doesn’t provide numbers, but can you still measure the answer?

Two glasses: You can definitely feel it. They give me some numbers, but I swear to keep them secret. the stranger, For example, it exploded but a little slowly and continued to reverberate. There was a feeling among my partners in England that you were starting to feel this desire. How many calls he receives and how much noise is out. Most of the time I try to keep my head down.

Limit: The original deal with Netflix was a serious commitment, what gave you the confidence to sign it?

Two glasses: I saw what they were safetyI still work with many of the same people. If I was trying to do a TV series 20 years ago, which I didn’t do, the episodes have to be 40 minutes, starting with crime and ending with crime, and seasons of 22 episodes, which don’t fit what I’m doing now. Netflix does just that. My next show is in France [Gone For Good] Five loops Innocent Eight, some episodes last 40 minutes and others 50 minutes. For my storytelling genre, it works for broadcast.

I don’t want to sound like much here, but they also do really cool things with their marketing. They changed the poster you see on the platform to attract new people to see it. I’m a guy who wants people to watch my shows. It seems obvious, but a lot of writers pretend they don’t care, I care. Netflix has a huge global platform and that’s great.

Limit: Do you have an absolute mandate over the novels that are adapted?

Two glasses: Yes and no. They never attacked me. On Innocent, I met a lot of teams, Brazil, Germany, etc. The head of the Spanish team said he really believes Innocent It would be perfect for them and Paulo Oriol. I met Oriol in New York and pressed it, we’ve been like brothers since day one. Then we took the next step. It’s not like I’m saying “I want to make an X in Germany.” It is cooperative.

I was in the UK to attend a movie premiere. the stranger, Then I traveled to Barcelona to see their movie Innocent. Then I went to Paris to meet the team. How fun is this?

Limit: Have you always been interested in working internationally?

Two glasses: Before becoming a writer, I worked in the field of international travel. It was a family business and my job was to travel to different countries and help organize trips. I’ve always had a great passion for travel.

We live in the golden age of television. Five years ago, no American watched a foreign language show. They just won’t. Now there is a lot of talent on the international stage, and the best things are being done in pockets that have not yet received the American saturation. Americans are from Central America, but we are learning.

Offers are mixed. You can still feel American, which I feel, but they can feel Spanish, too [with The Innocent].

Limit: TSpanish-language content is very popular here, especially since there are a lot of Spanish speakers outside of Spain. There is also a large community of Polish diaspora, but not as much experience. Woods?

Two glasses: that was amazing. I can’t share with some people who speak a foreign language, I depend a lot on the team there. I really thought they did a great job. Next time I would have pushed her to be a little more American, maybe faster, but I think she was moody, atmospheric, and really interesting. He loved the cast, direction, and idea of ​​the two time periods. I haven’t been disappointed in any of the settings yet.

I work with some more than others. I actively participate in each one, especially in the beginning. For this one [The Innocent]Uriol and I discussed this from the start. I gave a lot of notes on the texts. They emailed me quickly every day, but I had no comments at all. I was involved again while editing.

Limit: Is the goal still 14 adjustments in five years?

Two glasses: I do not know. Innocent It comes out on April 30th, followed by it. It is gone forever Then in France Stay close in the UK. So I am not sure. We will be looking forward to making future series in different countries, and we are working on developing three more at the moment that I cannot talk about, one of them is in a new region. It might end up being more creative ideas and fewer novels. [Safe was based on an original idea by Coben]. It’s something that I’ll talk to Netflix about and we’ll decide together.

Limit: Or they’ll call you three months before the deal ends and say, “You still owe us six adjustments.”

Two glasses: She was so funny [laughs].

Limit: It recently struck a deal with Amazon for its small storytelling. ShelterPlus you also have projects with Apple and MGM International, how does that work with the Netflix deal?

Two glasses: The Netflix deal does not cover the Myron Bolitar series or the YA Mickey Bolitar spin-offs. Amazon turns youth books into a series. I’ll tell you which washer is the best to work with in the end [laughs].

Limit: Are you writing more novels now?

Two glasses: To win It came out last month. With regard to the following – in the strangerThe “stranger” turns around, I’ve never thought about what will happen to them after it’s over. Now I am writing this sequel to The boy from the woods The strange thing has just appeared. This may be a continuation of both books, which was not my intention. We’ll see how everything turns out.

Limit: Any ideas for taking a break?

Two glasses: I’m not very good with breaks. Life is about balance. I always like to write in the morning, I am not in balance if I am not writing or thinking of writing or creating. I don’t think it’s going to stop any time soon, but the guy conspires, God laughs.

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