Six Publishing-Themed Movies for Every Literary Genre

Posted by Diana R. Wallach

The publishing industry might not be the most natural fit for exciting on-screen moments. (I’m still waiting for the reality version of So You Think You Can Write?) But that doesn’t mean that Hollywood has completely ignored the thrill that can be found in creating the written word. So if you’re looking for films featuring your beloved profession, below are some movies that tackle every aspect of the publishing industry from literary agents, to bloggers, to ghost writers, to children’s books, to the occasional psychotic editor.

1. YAYoung Adult

That’s not a typo. The movie is actually called Young Adult. It’s written by Diablo Cody and it stars Charlize Theron, which, right there, gives you two amazing reasons see it. Theron plays the ghostwriter of a popular YA series that’s on its last book. Not to spoil it for you, but if you had any delusions that ghostwriting was a glamorous profession, this movie will kill it. Still, it made me wonder about a bunch of depressed thirty-somethings out there writing the Sweet Valley High books of my youth.


2. HorrorFatal Attraction

Oh, yes, she may have boiled his bunny, but Glenn Close’s character was also a big-time New York City editor. You forgot that, didn’t you? Hard not to given the romantic craziness that ensues after her affair with Michael Douglas. Still, it gives new meaning to the cliché, “don’t dip your pen in the office ink.”


3. ChristmasElf

If you love Game of Thrones and Peter Dinklage, then you must remember he played the Godsend children’s book writer who beat up William Farrell during an editorial meeting in Elf. There isn’t an unpublished writer out there who wouldn’t love a peek behind the curtain of an acquisition meeting, and if they all involved drop kicks from Peter Dinklage, publishing houses could sell tickets and solve all their financial crises.


4. Chick LitThe Proposal

Sandra Bullock and People’s Sexiest Man Alive, Ryan Reynolds, in my opinion, are absolutely representative of what everyone in publishing looks like. It’s a known fact: flight attendants, drug reps, nurses, and editors—they’re best looking professions in history. What? You don’t believe me? Then, live the dream vicariously as you watch two good-looking publishing execs fall haplessly in love.


5. Based on a True StoryJulie & Julia

Since you’re reading this blog, then you have to appreciate that this film marks the first movie based on a blog. And it was written by Nora Ephron, which is reason enough to see it. The film contrasts the life of Julia Child with that of blogger Julie Powell as she struggles her way through Child’s cookbook, ultimately gets her blog featured in the NY Times (dream the impossible dream, right?), and finally gets a major publishing deal. It’s the writer-version of a locker room pep talk.


6. Just Plain Bad, Rainy Day, There Is Nothing Else To DoA Thousand Words

You may not have heard of this movie, with good reason, it’s pretty bad. But it stars Eddie Murphy, which is a decent way to spend 90 minutes, and he plays a literary agent, a profession I can’t ever remember being the center of a film. Murphy plays a literary agent who lies so much a spiritual guru puts a whammy on him so he can no longer speak. It’s like Liar, Liar only not funny. But if you’re a disgruntled writer who’s ever wanted to put a hex on your agent, then hey, it’s the film for you.

Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of three young adult novels, Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books). In Fall 2013, she will publish Mirror, Mirror, a short-story trilogy based on the Narcissus myth (Buzz Books). She hold a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Follow Diana online:, or