Today, words are on my mind. Well, given by the multitude of lengthy posts in this blog, clearly its safe to say I love words! Words in a book, words in a script, even the word of the day emails; to me, words are a thing to savor and enjoy. It is to my great regret I am not better adept at presenting words in a more enjoyable (or as witnessed by latest pitiful attempt at a thesis which bombed badly) more intelligent manner that I am capable, but none the less, the love of words and all things written remains.
Peter Jinks, he the author of Hallam Foe and clearly a lover of words too lol, is giving a presentation for Word Weekend at the University of Aberdeen on Sunday May 11. According to the description of the event, there will be a screening of Hallam Foe after his presentation, where he will probably discuss the adaptation and working the Sigma Team (David Mackenzie and Ed Whitmore) on developing the screenplay to Foe. I remember that Mr. Jinks was part of a panel on this at the Edinburgh film festival which I missed last year, but perhaps I can catch a similar panel this year (although no foe , woe ;) ) In the interviews I've read/seen with the author about his experience with the film, one interviewer cites him saying “Everyone who writes a book hopes it will get optioned and made into a film,” says Jinks. “But I didn’t have any idea how it would work with my book. I knew that I liked Dave’s films and that he understood the underlying idea of the novel, but the book was just source material. They’ve been making their own piece of art.”
Indeed! I love David and Sigma's art but that is pretty obvious now isn't it? Now that Ive read the HF book and seen the film, I can understand the changes made (much better to have Hallam work in the hotel than at the charity I think, plus much better visually and a greater chance to showcase that gorgeous city). Their history of adapting of books to film is impressive of course, and Im certain it will continue with whatever they have in the works (not sure if that Ewan Morrison Swung movie is going to happen) If there is one thing I admire about David and Gillian and well all of the team is that they have a clear appreciation of literature and the written word matters in their films, so bring more on I say!
Speaking of words and Sigma ...well sorta, the words and phrase 'Rounding up Donkeys' is certainly an interesting choice for a film title and I believe they chose the title from something in the script. I don't suppose it will generate the buzz and uber hipness that the "I drink your milkshake" phrase has gained (in part because of the extraordinary talents and performance of Daniel Day Lewis in the Oscar nominated and winning film There Will Be Blood which was adapted from Upton Sinclair's Oil! .. and who alas is not in Donkeys or prob not in any Sigma films any time soon, but a girl can always dream! ) I believe that the movie must be nearly done filming if they are holding to the six week time frame or have a week or so to go. Last word on the film's progress came in the form of a blogger who is apparently friends with the director Morag Mckinnon and the screenwriter Colin McLaren. The author of Shadowplay, who also has a joyful abundance of love for words too, mercifully provided a morsel of news writing that the shoot is undergoing "six-day weeks and 50% night shoots. Some scenes are being shot night-for-night purely for cost reasons — without enough funds to black out the windows of a church, the production was forced to shoot after nightfall."
As for the script, an older piece regarding the Advance Party series found via indieWire went into detail on the collaborative nature of the films and hence some story elements. More hints about RUD came from the director who said in the lengthy profile piece:
In the development stage, the directors added two entirely new characters, a teenage girl that McKinnon needed, as well as another man. "We added a significant new character to facilitate the tone we wished to achieve," says McKinnon, who hopes to shoot her own film this fall. "Although he started out as Avery"--described as a 40-year-old who stays far away from drugs and alcohol because he knows that his interior contains anger'--"that wasn't going to work with the casting that Andrea needed."
And because McKinnon wanted to add these two characters, "the rules were that if somebody incorporated a main character that wasn't included in the main list, everyone had to agree to include them," explains Arnold....
"We were all going for different main characters which meant that we would not be in conflict about the casting," explains McKinnon, whose own film is about a 64-year-old character named Alfred who realizes he is dying and tries to make amends with Jackie, his estranged daughter. "Had we chosen similar main characters then it would probably have made for a more difficult situation," she adds.
"It's kind of a collaborative process," McKinnon notes, "but in terms of the casting, it's safe to say that we all had to compromise somewhere." McKinnon worries about the impact "Red Road"--having come first in the series, and winning much acclaim--will have on her own film. "'Red Road' will definitely influence ours," she says. "When people see it, it will set up a sense of expectation which will be very difficult to live up to. People have got used to seeing these characters in this way, and if they loved them like that they might not want to see them change."...[Rud] will be "tragi-comic," she says. "I hope we will have something that is naturalistic yet absurd, both funny and sad."Bonus video of the exceptional Daniel Day Lewis, an actor who can always make a word speak volumes in the most amazing of ways.