Author Aaron Blabey’s Bad Guys series has sold a whopping 30 million copies around the world and has just been adapted for the big screen by a major Hollywood studio on April 22.
That is huge for someone who didn’t achieve commercial success until the age of 40, a dream come true for the 48-year-old Bendigo-born writer, who was about to quit when he came up with the idea.
“I went for a walk and came up with The Bad Guys, Pig the Pug and Thelma [the Unicorn] in a day. It was a very significant moment. I’ve gone for many more walks since, hoping it would happen again but it just hasn’t,” he says with a laugh. “It’s amazing what desperation will do.”
Pitched at kids aged six to 12, The Bad Guys books are a mash-up of movie concepts, Blabey says, inspired by Mad Max, anything by Tarantino, Spielberg’s movies from the 1980s, Scorcese and Ford Coppola.
After a lifetime of legendary heists, notorious criminals Mr. Wolf, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Shark and Ms. Tarantula are finally caught. To avoid a prison sentence, the animal outlaws must pull off their most challenging con yet — becoming model citizens. Under the tutelage of their mentor, Professor Marmalade, the dubious gang sets out to fool the world that they’re turning good.