We chat with Passionflix director of development Lauren Olsen about her work with Passionflix, how she got into romance novels, and more.
Passionflix has so many projects in the works that it’s hard for Passionistas to keep track of them, but that’s a good problem to have. One of the reasons the romance streamer is able to keep moving is that there is no end in sight when it comes to romance novels ripe for the picking. Thankfully, director of development Lauren Olsen is working hard to bring the best stories to CEO and founder Tosca Musk for consideration.
One of the key traits that sets Passionflix apart from other studios and streaming services is that it works hard to ensure that it’s bringing stories to life as authentically as possible, keeping the original source material at the forefront. Since the books that become movies are already beloved by fans, it makes perfect sense for Passionflix to solicit casting suggestions and new book ideas from their subscribers and social media followers.
We had a chance to talk with Olsen about her work with Passionflix and what she’s looking for when it comes to selecting new stories to bring to life as movies.
Culturess: What are some of the most recent Passionflix acquisitions?
Lauren Olsen: Our most recent were the Beauty from Pain series by Georgia Cates and Kristen Proby’s Easy Love and Come Away With Me! We also have some other exciting announcements coming soon.
Culturess: What do you look for when you’re scouting for new projects?
Olsen: I look to see if I can get lost in the characters and their story. I’m a very fast reader, and if a book is good, I can read it in four hours. When I’m done, I’ll do some research on the book and author and then pitch it to Tosca.
Culturess: Are there genres within romance that you’re looking at more than others for Passionflix?
Olsen: We’re open to almost every genre. My dream is to adapt historical romances (more of the Regency era), because those were the ones I read when I started reading romance. They require large budgets, so that is something we plan to do a little further down the line.
Culturess: Passionistas have some of the best suggestions for books that could become movies. What are some of the best fan recommendations you’ve had thus far, and how do you recommend fans connect with you when they have new suggestions?
Olsen: They really do! We pay close attention to social media comments, and I also look into any submissions sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. One of the best recommendations I saw and followed through on came from a Founding Member who posted about Amy Daws and her book Wait With Me. I loved the book! I also love that the main character mentioned our company by name — I saw that as a sign that this was meant to be! We are now looking forward to working with Amy and bringing the story to life on screen.
Culturess: What was the first romance novel you ever read?
Olsen: Aside from Pride and Prejudice, which I suppose is the first traditional romance novel I read, my first “bodice ripper” romance novel was To Catch A Pirate by Angela Claire. I was seventeen and a friend of mine had recommended a completely different book with the same title, and I thought I found it on Kindle when I found Claire’s book. Big surprise when some intimate scenes started and I thought WHAT IS THIS? Also, I LOVE IT? And the rest is history. The next book I found was The Bride Wore Scarlet by Liz Carlyle at my local Rite Aid, and that’s what got me even deeper into Avon Historical books and those authors.
Culturess: What is it about romance that you love?
Olsen: There is something so beautiful about finding your person. Not your other half who “completes you,” but someone who gets you and loves you for who you are and wants to be with you no matter what. It is so amazing to watch two people fall into a love like that.
Culturess: If you have to watch a movie outside of Passionflix/romance, what genre do you choose?
Olsen: I love me a Wes Anderson or Tarantino movie. I’m also a BIG Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars nerd.
Culturess: What are you reading right now?
Olsen: Currently reading The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa!
Thank you so much to Lauren Olsen for taking the time to chat with us, and we can’t wait for all of these projects to come to life on Passionflix! Which projects are you most looking forward to, Culturess readers? Tell us in the comments below!