I love a good film as much as the next person (and have probably watched the Harry Potter films more than ten times each – comfort watching puts on less weight than comfort eating!). But I read far, far more (and always read the book before seeing the movie)…and these days almost have to be on a plane to get a chance to watch a movie.
I followed my husband’s screenwriting course with interest, learnt a lot during the multiple short movies he made during the course, and shared the highs and lows of making a “feature” movie 18 years ago (we knew nothing…but did show it at the Kino). But when Causeway optioned Medea’s Curse (sadly not renewed, funding as it is), though I dreamed of seeing Natalie King on the screen, watch from the side lines during filming (happy to provide coffee and donuts), I never wanted to write the screenplay myself.
Graeme wrote The Rosie Project, and The Best of Adam Sharp screenplay as originals before or at the same time as the book – but we sold Two Steps Forward to Fox Searchlight (Ellen DeGeneres) as a book, handing it over to the mercy of Hollywood (actually they’ve been tinkering with the original Rosie Project too). The book is set on the Camino de Santiago – a long version from Cluny in France to Santiago, and only overlapping in locations with Martin Sheen’s The Way on two towns – St Jean Pied de Port (the start of the traditional Camino Frances) and Santiago (where all Camino de Santiagos must end!). Quite aside from how much the walk impacted on us, and whether the story is any good, the visuals would be fabulous…I’d be very happy to provide the donuts but I suspect Fox Searchlight, if they ever make it, have their own donut providers.
Undeterred though by Hollywood’s whims (they’ll wait and see how well the book does), we’re filming not one but two book trailers. So yes, on Friday I was out buying donuts. But unlike filming of Voluntary Act 18 years ago, I am not acting in it. (For the other trailer Graeme and I will be filmed typing in varying locations, with words popping up on the screen….about the level of acting I’m up for).
This trailer has a “real” Zoe and Martin (thank you Kim Denman and Dion Mills).
There is something quite special about your character suddenly coming to life. It happened for me at the Ubud Writers festival where an actor with a fabulous Irish accent read Liam (the hero out of my Natalie King books). I had heard him for so long in my head…knees actually trembled hearing it from a hot guy standing next to me!
Friday though it was Martin (Dion), an uptight (“anal” was mentioned by the director…) 50ish British engineer…I have to say Dion was a little wilder in the hair department than I’d imagined (he’s doing a play currently set in the Dystopian future and can’t change it) but we kind of got to like it.
Zoe (Kim) is Californian and trying to get in touch with the universe, but doesn’t bring quite the same level as organisation to the task as Martin (above the items to be packed were lined exactly along the line of the floorboards…)
Today it was the location shoot. Sadly not a trip to France and Spain, and evocative of the book rather than being strictly accurate, but lots of fun and chemistry between the talent, and hard work, innovative guerrilla tactics from the fabulous Ben Plazzer (director), Steve Mitchell (producer on this, but screen writer on The Heckler which he did with Ben) and Paul Hughes (cinematography). I doubt Steven Speilberg ever had his hand run over to ensure a tulip fell….this was a sole tulip we had planted in a buried vase and it proved to be almost indestructible!!!
Those of you have walked the Camino can have a giggle at the trailer which will hopefully be out around the same time as the book (October 2nd in Australia, later this year Netherlands, early next year Germany, April UK, April/May for Canada and USA and waiting dates for our other publishers).
And look out for the book of course – this is fiction, not memoir (inspired by our Camino, walked twice from Cluny in central France) – a life affirming feel good book about starting again.