I think I’m pretty tough to impress when it comes to my preferred tv. I really have to connect with the characters, to emotionally invest in them. And for that to happen they have to be a particular kind of character. Which probably says a lot about my own personality type.
I’m a sucker for Tarantino films and most Scottish and Irish cultivated drama. Tim Roth. James Nesbitt. Christophe Waltz. Peter Mullan. Bad boy characters I suppose you would call them. I am mesmerised by that dark side of the human psyche. The unpredictable. The lack of right or wrong. Alter egos and double lives. Split personalities. The broken and the rejected who make up the backbone of human nature. That we are all animals in the simplest terms. Knee jerk reactions and base instincts.
I swing towards anything that takes an actor out of his usual roles and disturbs fans, or is psychologically rather than physically scary. I like things that play with my mind. National Treasure is the latest offering from the BBC. It’s working for me. This is not Robbie Coltrane or Julie Walters usual thing. And it’s good.
Horror doesn’t bother me. I am squeamish. But it’s not my kind of film. It doesn’t draw me to the people. I revel in anything that’s gritty and earthy like Tyrannosaur and NEDS, or quirky and bizarre like Lobster.
Captives, The Secret, Bronson, Jekyll (the Steven Moffat mini series), The Legend of 1900. Six Feet Under which cripples you on every emotional level and makes you question your entire existance. When Nate died I completely lost it. Or look at the likes of The Babbadook or American Mary.
As a writer I usually have my main character already cast or they follow soon after. If I can visualise an actor in the role it makes it stronger. Alive. They don’t need to have played similar parts before, but there needs to be something about them that inspires the role. They need to be physically there. That way I can gauge responses, mannerisms and build them into the part.
In 2000 I put down a script which I felt had gone as far as it could. It was complete but it bothered me. It’s a subject that has quite literally been done to death, and is tacky and full of stereotypes. Noone takes it seriously. And I’ve never seen a really convincing version of it.
And that unsettled me. Because who is going to take that seriously? The name alone has people thinking ‘are you bonkers’. But the reality of it is just that – it was real.
Life took over. I published a book on something completely different. I started my business. But over recent months that script has been calling out to me. I’ve refound my leading man, the inspiration, and it’s bugging the hell out of me that I feel the need to rewrite the film with him in mind. But he makes it better. He is the muse that brings it to life.
Despite the years that have passed, last month I managed to find a readable digital copy of my nagging doubt. I’ve been relooking at it and trying to work out how I can turn it on its head and give it a modern twist that separates it from its genre. I’ve worked it out, I think. But it’s a massive rewrite. It needs to be done. It will be done and I am mentally preparing for the challenge.
If I get to pen something anywhere near as good as any of the above I can die happy. In my head it’s amazing. But articulating it is quite another thing. And a lot of that happens after the script has been written.
You can read my book ‘A Most Faithful Attendant – The Life of Giovanni Battista Falcieri‘ by purchasing it here.