We here at ScreenCraft would like to offer a heartfelt congratulations to screenwriter Anna Klassen. A winner in this year’s ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship, Anna is making waves this week for her latest project, a biopic about the life of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, featuring an ingenious title: When Lightning Strikes.
When Lightning Strikes tracks the underdog rise of the famed author during her struggle to write what would eventually become the first Harry Potter novel. The material itself is prime fodder for a satisfying biopic, with Rowling’s difficult early years lending emotional weight to the cultural zeitgeist that now surrounds her.
The script placed sixth on The Black List with 20 votes, and 17th on the Hit List with 37. And with the Harry Potter cinematic franchise alive and well at Warner Bros., it’s possible we could see the studio shepherd Klassen’s take on the author’s story directly to the big screen.
Anna has taken to Twitter to celebrate the news, praising Rowling as “a woman I admire beyond words. Her story is her own — & I have tried to tell it with love, care, & respect.”
The writer, who is also represented by an all-female team of agents at WME, won the 2017 ScreenCraft Fellowship for her script 14 words, which tells the story of a young woman as she attempts to infiltrate a white supremacy group called Aryan Resurgence to further research for her exposé.
For Klassen, the story was personal. “My grandmother was raped and murdered in Indiana in 1969, and one of the suspects in her case is the KKK,” the writer explained in a recent interview conducted by ScreenCraft last summer. “This story is a work of fiction, yes, but it is very much inspired by real events that have occured for centuries — and are still happening today.”
In a recent interview with The Script Lab, Klassen explained that her experience participating in the ScreenCraft Fellowship directly led to her signing on with manager Bash Naran. “I met [Naran] through a mutual friend at Sundance Film Festival, and we instantly hit it off over our shared taste in movies and TV… A few months later, I won the 2017 ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship, and this generated enough heat for him to officially sign me. I really can’t stress enough how helpful placing in contests can be towards getting eyes on your script and gaining representation!”