Oscar-nominated Emma Donoghue wrote Room screenplay before book came out

Academy Award-nominated novelist Emma Donoghue, who is up for best adapted screenplay for her book Room, has no time for jet lag after arriving in Los Angeles from France.

Irish-Canadian bestselling author in Hollywood whirlwind ahead of Academy Awards

Brie Larson, left, and Jacob Tremblay appear in a scene from the film Room, based on the novel and screenplay by Emma Donoghue. (A24 Films/Canadian Press)

Academy Award-nominated novelist Emma Donoghue, who is up for best adapted screenplay for her book Room, has no time for jet lag after arriving in Los Angeles from France.

"It's a ceaseless round of parties," the Irish-Canadian author jokingly describes Oscar week in Hollywood.

She's had breakfast with Toronto Mayor John Tory (in town to promote his city's film business), lunch with her Irish compatriots and has also attended a women in Hollywood event.

But the writer has a knack for planning ahead.

Even before Donoghue's bestselling novel about a mother and child held captive for years was published, she had already started crafting a screenplay for it.

Donoghue believed the story lent itself well to a film version.

"I thought it might as well be me, why not?" she said.

"There's a real tradition of women being very successful within fiction, and then when it comes to the public world of film, often male scriptwriters will do that job of adapting."

Brie Larson, who is nominated for best actress for her role in Room, has already won a Golden Globe, Critics' Choice Award and Screen Actors Guild Award for her portrayal of a woman trying to protect her young son at all costs.

The Irish-Canadian Oscar-nominated author describes what she will apply to her next film-writing project 1:01

"It's lovely to see a film about a woman and a child taken so seriously, because there has been this tendency to see the white man as the one who can represent all of humanity and not anybody else," she said, noting the importance of the current discussions about diversity in Hollywood.

Donoghue said her Oscar nomination has definitely changed her life, but not in the ways you might think. She doesn't get mobbed on the street, but people who have read the book or seen the film and recognize her tall stature and red hair certainly tell her how the story has touched them.

"Because of that amazing Oscar seal of approval, it's now opening in India and Philippines," she said. "We didn't try to woo that huge audience in making the film … so to see that we still managed to get a really worldwide audience without those compromises, it's just wonderful."

Donoghue is currently working on adapting her novel Frog Music into a screenplay, but admits the red carpet glitz of Hollywood is a world she's happy to visit, but not linger in.

"I've been asked questions I've never been asked before like, 'Who are you wearing?' I find a lot of it quite funny and absurd," she laughed. "I can't take the questions seriously at all."


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