I always had wondered whether the author had modeled Miles (the aspiring novelist) after himself. As it turns out, he had in many ways. What I hadn’t considered was the risk he took in doing so. By laying bare so personal a story and putting it out there for others to accept or reject, he risked the ultimate rejection. If his novel had turned out to be a failure, wouldn’t that have been the proverbial nail in the coffin for his writing career?
As it turned out, Sideways was turned into a movie and enjoyed tremendous success. It’s hard to imagine some of the casting choices the studio had originally wanted (George Clooney as out-of-work actor Jack? Sean Penn as self-deprecating Miles?). Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church stepped into those roles as if they were made for them.
Pickett has published a sequel called Vertical that picks up with Miles and Jack seven years later. Miles has written a novel that was made into a wildly successful movie, and it’s changed his life (sound familiar?). Jack is divorced and is on the skids (no surprise there).
I’ve got a copy of Vertical that I’ll be reading on my flight to Abu Dhabi this week. I’m looking forward to seeing where life has taken Miles and Jack, and keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll a film adaptation in the future.
You can follow Rex Pickett on his journey at VerticalTheNovel.com.