STICKING WITH IT
7th September 2009
I have just heard from a long time friend, the writer David Seidler, whom I met when living in LA, that a play he has written about George V! and Lionel Logue, who helped cure the King’s stammer, is to be made into a film starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush. David wrote this play a while ago and I saw it in a staged reading last year in London. It is a breath of fresh air and very moving. I loved it. I am thrilled for David, he has really hung in there and kept the faith with the play; his talent and persistence have won through in the best way.
I got to know David when I commissioned him to write a screenplay for me about Dame Naomi James’ solo sailing voyage around the world, making her the first woman ever to do so. David and his writing partner at the time, Jackie Feather, delivered a wonderful script on an incredibly difficult subject.
We got a long way with it. But sadly it never got made. I had originally intended it as a project for myself, as I was getting frustrated with some of the work I was doing.
One of the people who read and liked it was David Puttnam, who advised me that I needed to decide (at my stage of the game) that I had to decide whether to act in the film or produce it. I couldn’t do both. It was good advice. And since it was project getting a lot of attention, it seemed wiser to get a bigger name than mine to match the budget we would need for filming at sea. So I continued as Producer. We got as far as commitment from Demi Moore to appear in it.
Eventually the project proved to be too difficult at the time to film at sea, which it needed and this was pre-computer graphics days. Naomi lost some interest in it, although she hung in for a long time and probably the worst thing that happened was that Rob James, her husband, died in a sailing accident not long after we had started. The project lost some of its energy and momentum, as Rob had been so solidly supportive of it. All projects have a life and energy of their own and you have to strike while that particular iron is hot or you can run out of steam. Life and other demands take over.
I enjoyed the whole experience, which was an invaluable learning time for me. I met many terrific and supportive people and was overwhelmed by their generosity of interest and time. Not the least of them David and Jackie, John Glen (‘Bond’ film director), whom we hoped would direct, Arthur Wooster, 2nd unit Director and avid, experienced sailor and film maker.
So right on David Seidler, I am delighted.
Another, newer friend, Carl Medland has just finished his first full length feature: ‘The Cost of Love’, which from the little I have seen looks very promising. Carl wrote and directed ‘Blinded’ and ‘Bereavement’. which I co-wrote with him. He has helped me get ‘my feet wet’ in the world of short film, he is good writer and Director and is another ‘stayer’, I feel sure he will do well.
I enjoy the short film format, because one can do quality work in a fast paced environment.
Again recently I have met many good people, some of whom will work on my next production, a short film – Gothic thriller, which we will make in October in 3 days! I do plan to appear in this one. More on this later.
A recent addition to the site here is a page on my recent USA appearance in ‘The Comedy of Errors’ which captures the fun and joy of this experience. This is one of the really useful tools of marketing; one can express the pleasure of much of the work.