'The Condemned' book on sale now
While WWE fans must wait until April 27 for The Condemned to hit theaters, the novelization of the film, starring "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is available today. The book gives WWE fans a more in-depth look at The Condemned, said its author, Rob Hedden.
"The great thing about the book, which you can do with any kind of novelization, is being able to take what's in the movie and get into all the back stories of all the characters that you just can't do in a movie without making it eight-hours long," Hedden told WWE.com. "That's what I really love doing, is being to flesh everything out from where it was in the film."
While oftentimes a film is adapted from a novel, it's the opposite with The Condemned. Initially, Hedden and his brother, Andy, came up with the story, and then he wrote the screenplay for the movie.
"We brought it to WWE, they read it and had great ideas to punch it up. I did several rewrites for them. Then they brought in Scott Wiper, who is a great writer/director. Scott did a rewrite of the screenplay, and that's how we came up with the final screenplay," Hedden explained. "Then I went back and adapted the final screenplay, which incorporated Scott's ideas, as well as our original ideas, and that's what's in the book."
Hedden said the book remains faithful to the film, but it expands upon the characters in The Condemned. The story is based on 10 death row prisoners who are brought to an island by an online reality show producer, and are forced to survive by killing each other, with only one person winning freedom by staying alive.
"I think when you pick up a book, you want to find what makes the characters tick. In this case, you have 10 murderers on death row and you want to know what's going on inside their heads," Hedden said. "Stone Cold's character has a great mysterious background that you learn a lot about in the movie, but you learn even more in the book."
While the Jack Conrad character wasn't written for a particular actor, once Stone Cold was suggested to play the lead, Hedden said he knew instantly it was right.
"We went back and really tweaked the script to make it perfect for him. We changed dialogue and changed certain things he would do that the character I had originally written wouldn't do. But they were not giant changes because he fit the part so well right from the get-go," Hedden said.
So should WWE fans who are hungry for The Condemned read the novel before seeing the movie next month? Hedden said that's up to the fans.
"That's a personal choice, because some people like to know what's going on. When they're watching the movie, they want to know all of the things going on inside that character's head -- how they got there, why they got there. For those people, reading the book first before you see the movie is a good thing," he said.
"But there's another huge percentage of people who don't want to know how the movie ends. There are a lot of surprises in the movie and in the book. If you read the book, those surprises will be spoiled for you," Hedden warned.
Ultimately, Hedden said reading the book first shouldn't stop WWE fans from seeing the film -- he promised no one will be let down.
"The WWE fans are going to be very happy. They're going to look at Stone Cold Steve Austin in a whole new way. They're going to get to see him in the movie that made him a movie star."