We caught up with best selling novelist, George Van Mellaert, who lives in Montreux, Switzerland and Marbella, Spain. Mellaert got out of Madrid on the last flight to Geneva before the state of emergency in Spain, due to Covid 19, was put into effect.
Mellaert has penned two best sellers; 'La Corruption de la Justice' ('The Corruption of Justice') and 'Un Avocat Tres Dangereux' ('A Very Dangerous Lawyer') based on his life and an adaption of these novels is being made into a television series to be shown worldwide and was about to go into production in Spain when the Covid 19 virus and an enforced quarantine put the production in “hiatus” . However, the production is scheduled to film again in May barring any further European extensions of this enforced quarantine.
The series follows the career of a young and talented lawyer at the EU headquarters in Brussels who represents a wealthy diamond corporation that is really a cover for a foreign intelligence agency, unbeknownst to our protagonist, who finds himself caught in the middle of warring nations involved in clandestine activities.
According to Pat Andrew, executive producer of Wanda Halcyon Television, “Corruption of Justice” will be a fantastic political thriller and an intriguing story about how the state corrupts the legal integrity of an honest young lawyer who is trapped in a world that defies everything he has been taught to believe". Andrew, former executive at Spelling Entertainment, asserts that it will be a story that combines aspects of 'True Detective' and 'The Firm'- crime drama and political intrigue.
In our catch up with George Van Mellaert, we thought we would ask him some introspective questions via video link from his house in Switzerland:
1. So you achieve a rare thing...you publish a book based on your life experiences that was received well. How did you turn that amazing feat into a television deal?
"This is part of the mystery which will be the subject of my next novel. It’s a story in the story. Deep inside I always knew I would be a Hollywood character one day, I just didn’t know how it would play out, which was all part of the intrigue. As I worked along on my novels I shaped a character on paper which ended becoming a real life television character. I created the dream."
2. There's a lot of positive buzz about the future television show on social media etc...Who would you like to be cast as a young you if you could choose any actor in the world?
"Difficult question, because I am rather more into girls than boys! Nobody can play me because it’s incredibly hard to be me. I struggle with my own role myself. And, they would have to pick-up playing the harpsichord, being a lawyer and author, all at once! But I would definitely look at Matthew McConaughey. We share the same smile, youthful appearance and good looks and can be both light-hearted but also dramatic.... But that being said, I will leave that up to the Hollywood casting agent!"
3. As someone who has read your fantastic book, there are some interesting female characters that I understand will be adapted for the television show. In that vein, what kind of woman is a man like you attracted to?
"I haven’t met Mrs George yet so I don’t know. It would be cliche to say she has to be really fun, witty, intelligent, outgoing, beautiful...and has to love music. Why two people match is often a mystery because you can be attracted to your opposite, so throw all the criteria out of the window and be open. I could see George meeting Scarlett (Johansson) and them walking off together hand in hand..."
4. Tell us something really interesting about yourself that no one knows and that your fans would love to hear about? Eg,. I interviewed the enigmatic author of Catcher in the Rye, Mr JD Salinger and asked him this very question....he told me that he was in the Battle of Normandy as an Intelligence officer with the top secret OSS. So, give us something good!
"Just before I signed the book- and movie-deal, I sat on a plane on which I was never supposed to be and the lady sitting next to me whom I had never met, told me that something huge was going to happen in my life very soon, like that very week. She described herself as the Angel Gabriel. I thought oh boy man, how did they get this lady on a seat next to you. I thought she was a loony kind of cult-type, but the lady/angel was right…I guess the bottom line is that I always stayed positive and never lost belief in myself."
5. For fans who want to get a book or manuscript optioned and made into a television show, what advice would you offer them?
"There is no textbook recipe. I worked years on my books and music recordings, and you simply have to be passionate what your are doing without formatting it for a show. You have to remain totally authentic to yourself and your story."
6. To honor our mutual friend, James Lipton of the Actors Studio, please answer the following questions from one word to one sentence:
- What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
A walk in nature.
- What turns you off?
- What is your favorite curse word?
- What sound or noise do you love?
- What sound or noise do you hate?
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A comedian telling lawyer jokes
- What profession would you not like to attempt?
- What is your least favorite word?
It can’t be done.
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
George, I called you back so that you can play organ for us....