Hi Reddit, I'm John Niven. I wrote the novel Kill Your Friends and also the screenplay for the film, starring Nic Hoult, James Corden, Ed Skrein and Tom Riley. Kill Your Friends is now out in US theaters/OnDemand (http://www.wellgousa.com/theatrical/kill-your-friends). Ask me anything!

My Proof: http://imgur.com/bJahYBt

UPDATE: Signing off for now. Thanks for tuning in!

Comments: 56 • Responses: 23  • Date: 

calcio111 karma

Would you rather:

a) Be shagged by David Cameron and NO-ONE would ever know


b) Not be shagged by David Cameron but EVERYONE would be fully convinced that you had been?

KillYourFriendsFilm10 karma

Now that's a good one. I'm going to have to go with b.

Sunsetsandshit4 karma

Hi John,

Just want to say I love your tweets during golf and tennis tournaments, I'm not a big golf fan but they really add to the occasion.

My question is what did you think about the Kill Your Friends movie?

KillYourFriendsFilm2 karma

sorry - missed this one! I love tweeting a big sporting event. I really enjoyed the movie. It's difficult when you're so close to it and I understand some people would have seen it differently, but there we are...

patpowers19953 karma

Are you related to SF writer Larry Niven?

KillYourFriendsFilm2 karma

Sadly not.

simonflay2 karma

Hi John,

As an author and now filmmaker, have you ever used any kind of tax saving device to reduce your personal taxation?

KillYourFriendsFilm3 karma


KillYourFriendsFilm2 karma

Thanks very much folks. Think that's it for now. JN x

TruckerChick2 karma

Hi Mr. Niven. Is it true that you once ate a cat?

KillYourFriendsFilm3 karma

I don't think so. I'd remember that.

fair_weather_hater1 karma

What's next on the novel chopping block? Straight White Male and The Sunshine Cruise Company are fantastic, but are we gonna get another thriller like Cold Hands? (Also... what's the status of the Cold Hands film adaptation?)

KillYourFriendsFilm3 karma

I've just finished the screenplay for The Sunshine Cruise Company, which is being produced by Donna Gigliotti, who was behind Silver Linings Playbook, Shakespeare in Love and The Reader. I'm hopeful we'll be going out to casting soon on that. Cold Hands is inching along. We have a script (Again by me) that everyone likes and we're trying to find a director with a view to shooting early next year in Manitoba. I have an outline for the next thriller I want to write, it's just a question of finding the time. I'm 60,000 words into the first draft of the next novel and am hoping to get it finished by the end of April.

patabr1 karma

How much of the novel (and the film) is based on real events?

KillYourFriendsFilm5 karma

There are a few moments in both the book and film based on actual events, but not nearly as many as people imagine. Fiction doesn't quite work like that. It;s the same with people: real people are rarely good enough for the novel. You need to create composites of two or three different people, taking the most extreme characteristics from each. I'm always having music industry people come up to me and say 'Oh I remember being there at that bit in your book when...' and they'll be referring to something completely invented.

thischarmingmark1 karma

Hi John, did any of your real-life former music industry colleagues self-identify as any of the characters in KYF?

And also...favourite album from the late 90s?

KillYourFriendsFilm2 karma

Quite a few people have wrongly imagined that Stelfox is based on them. There's a couple more minor characters that, yes, the people in question have recognized as being them. But as ever with the music industry they're more flattered to be included than angry at being mocked. Favourite late 90s album right now would have to be HMS Fable by Shack.

PooSnake11381 karma

What kind of creative impact does a screenwriter on set? does the director or any other person run any script changes past you at any point?

KillYourFriendsFilm3 karma

I find it very hard being on set. It's like being at an orgy where you're not allowed to fuck anyone. You have to hand over total control to the director at that point. And actors will always come to you for notes, which you can't really do without running the risk of contradicting the director. In pre production on low budget indie you'd often be consulted about any proposed script changes. On a big budget Hollywood film it's unlikely.

Frajer1 karma

What inspired you to write Kill Your Friends ?

KillYourFriendsFilm3 karma

My experiences working at a major label in London at the height of the record industry boom of the 1990s...

kieranleehill1 karma

As a long term Maida Vale resident and having been introduced to your books by Chrissie Hynde (mother-in-law), I was on the verge of tears (in a good way) when immersing myself in your description of the Notting Hill Carnival. Just wanted to check that you despise it as much as you articulate?

KillYourFriendsFilm1 karma

hahhahaha. Love Chrissie. Give her my best. Yes, I lived in Notting Hill and then Maida Vale from about 94 till 2004 and I always found the Carnival a bit...trying. Roger Ames used to have a good party at his place on Ladbroke Grove though....

FeralFire1 karma

Hi John,

Do you have any favorite book(s)/movie(s)?

KillYourFriendsFilm2 karma

too many to possibly mention...


Hello there Mr. Niven:

How do you take your coffee, and how much do you usually drink in a day?


KillYourFriendsFilm3 karma

black, no sugar, five or six cups a day, never after five pm.

AlanBeads1 karma

How often and how much do you write? Is there a set amount every day?

Also what's your favourite cocktail?

Many thanks

KillYourFriendsFilm1 karma

with novels a minimum of a thousand words a day, usually a bit more, around 1500. Sometimes as much as 2000 on a very good day. I write from breakfast until lunch. Usually around 8.30/9 until around 1.pm. In the afternoons I work on whichever screenplay I'm dealing with and answer emails, tend to bits of journalism etc.

I love a martini (very dry, gin, olives) and I'm very fond of a whisky sour.

Leishmantovani1 karma

What's you best score round Ravenspark?

KillYourFriendsFilm1 karma

I think 81. My best score ever was a 78 at my local course Hazlemere in Bucks. There was also a 79 at Williamwood in Glasgow a few years ago. Love going to back to Ravenspark or Bogside when I'm home.

Depasqual31 karma

What has been your worst day on the job and why?

KillYourFriendsFilm1 karma

as they say - every day above ground is a good day.

forava71 karma

Do you feel that the actors grasped and portray the characters up to your standards? Who is your favorite character in the book while writing it?

KillYourFriendsFilm1 karma

I think the cast did a great job. You don't really have favourite characters. It would be a bit like having a favourite child....

Oprahs_Mingie1 karma

Hi there John, what is your "Go-To" kind of beer?

KillYourFriendsFilm1 karma

I'm not really a beer guy. Stella Artois now and then, this being Europe and all...

jumpup1 karma

did you enjoy writing it, and is the film up to your standards?

KillYourFriendsFilm2 karma

I loved writing the novel. Writing the screenplay was a bit more...challenging. You're dealing with the restrictions of budget and so forth. the input of producers and directors. But I think the film did a very good job of conveying the energy and bile of the novel.

the-manbeast1 karma

Hi John, a fellow Scot here. A big fan of your work and I'm currently reading my way through "The sunshine cruise company."

My question to you is - if Kennedy Marr and Gary Irvine got into a fight, who would win and how?

KillYourFriendsFilm1 karma

Oh God - Kennedy every time. Gary's not a fighter. Lee Irvine, on the other hand, now that lad would do the pair of them.

VarianceFilms1 karma

What's the most insane thing that happened to you during your major label days?

KillYourFriendsFilm3 karma

I think it might have to be flying all the way from London to Miami for the Winter Music Conference in 1996 or 97 and a bunch of us not actually leaving the hotel suite for the entire three days of our stay...

fair_weather_hater1 karma

Long time fan! Picked up KYF in 2008 and have been waiting for the film since I first heard of the possibility. Just caught the film, and it was fantastic! Maintained my favorite line about shark infested semen. Wanted to ask about the transition from writing novels vs. writing for film. Cat Run maintained the kind of Niven quirk that I later found in The Sunshine Cruise Company, while KYF maintained the darkest edges of that novel. Aside from budget concerns, how do you pick what makes the cut concerning the film adaptation?

KillYourFriendsFilm3 karma

My God - you even liked Cat Run! That was a...difficult experience shall we say. To answer your question, with a novel you can (and should) riff off into digressions and asides and riffs and so forth, but with a screenplay, everything has to advance the story in some way, or reveal something about character. Adapting a novel is always difficult because you're taking something that's nearly 400 pages down to just over 100. You also have to be aware of how much you can do with just a look or a gesture on the screen. The Sopranos is a masterclass in doing this. A really well written scene should almost be able to play without any dialogue at all...