At the moment I'm deep in the Spanish Civil War - the nostalgic flashbacks are drawing me in on the third book, I'm reading George Orwell and Laurie Lee because Rosa's heroic, romantic story is becoming as important as her granddaughter's. It's something I learned studying art history - wherever possible go back to first hand accounts. Listen to people who were actually there. Their voices are alive, have an immediacy that will inject your script with authenticity and vitality. The manuscript is rough - literally and figuratively. The copy is coffee, tear and toddler stained, the text could do with the literary equivalent of a week or two at Chiva Som. So could I. But with George and Laurie to help out, we'll get there.
My favourite part of any rewrite is getting the main love affair pitch perfect. The pilot is taking plane loads of children to Lapland tonight to see Santa (not ours, haven't dared tell them where Daddy is), so for an old married woman deciding how to seduce someone like Javier Bardem helps to pass those quiet hours after the children are asleep (I'm not quite ready for knitting however trendy its become). With all our recent talk of rebel photographers and rock star marriages, it made me think of one of my favourite films 'Trop Belle Pour Toi'. I don't know if all you lovely people subscribing get to see the video links but it's worth a look at the main blog if you have time, if only to see a dashing looking young Depardieu. A lovely friend acted with him in 'Mon Pere Ce Hero' and she said even then he made you go weak at the knees in person - you can see the attraction in this film. The jist of the story is he's married to the perfect woman (Carole Bouquet - art imitating life - beautiful, rich, connected), and yet he has an affair with his plain secretary. The affair brings passion to their lives. Why? Is it back to that old steak/hamburger dilemma we were talking about a few weeks ago with Paul Newman? Or - as a male acquaintance once charmingly described his unnerring pursuit of plainer girlfriends - is it that 'women like that are more grateful.' Perhaps it would be better to say that the more normal - or equally matched - you are, the more you can relax and enjoy yourself? What do you think?
It is interesting what happens when you get two abnormally talented or beautiful people dating or married to one another. In any circle you have your prom king/queen. For celebs take Brangelina, Javier and Penelope or Johnny and Vanessa. What are the other great iconic relationships you can think of - Burton and Taylor for example? Have you ever had a really successful relationship with someone devastatingly attractive? (I've already regaled you about the boyfriend who liked to sit facing mirrors so he could watch himself talking to you ...) It's always struck me that with celebrities, (to quote Lady Di), there must be three or four of you in the relationship - you, them and your egos. Tough act. In the West at least tabloids and 'sleb' glossy magazines get huge mileage out of waiting for the tinder kegs to ignite. What's it like elsewhere in the world - I'd love to know. WKDN is in over 70 countries last time I checked - what's it like where you are?
I was thinking today about the individual icons of our time - Monroe, Hepburn, Dean - they are all singular. Monroe for example had Di Maggio, JFK and Miller, high profile but not direct competition. For the swinging older generation in the book - late 60s, 70s, I took Terence Stamp and The Shrimp as my inspiration. She famously left him because he was too narcissistic. He took a ten year sabbatical and found himself. What happens when you get two stars burning brightly together - does one diminish the other, do they burn twice as bright - or does one lead the way? A few years ago you would have thought no one could eclipse Brad Pitt - Brad and Jen, even stevens and yet ...
Hands up, I love Angelina - beautiful, bonkers, brilliant (if ever they make a biopic of Lee Miller ...). At the moment I have her in mind as the starting point for my next protagonist, Liberty. Just look at that vintage Hermes dress (sorry boys - indulge a moment or two dress talk). She always looks extraordinary whether on the red carpet in vintage couture or picking up the kids in ballet flats and a simple black vest. Whatever star quality is, the woman has it in her DNA. But then if you take her success, talent, determination, and shake that up with her life experiences, passions, causes, throw in Brad Pitt, a rainbow troupe of beautiful children ... maybe you'd be smiling too. Talk about living life outloud.
TODAY'S PROMPT: What are the rules of attraction? What draws people to an individual, a film, a book? For those of you (like me) in the middle of title conundrums you might enjoy Lulu's Titlescorer as a break from all the festive shenanigans (unfortunately their Titlefight function wasn't working so I couldn't pit 'All the Lovely Ruined Things' against 'The Secret Place'). However you might be interested to know that the most popular title they came up with was 'Killing Naked Roses' (80% chance of NYTimes bestseller out of a possible 83%). I had previously heard that 'Cats Play Golf' was a surefire hit - only 10.2% according to the stats. I was encouraged that ALRT was 26.3% as opposed to the bestselling book of all time (The Bible, a measly 8%, but 6,000,000,000 copies sold according to tonight's stats so He has little to worry about - but then, what a USP).
The best I came up with were several 70% sure fire NYTimes bestsellers - how do your titles fare? I love ALRT but who am I to argue? What do you think - as we were discussing yesterday does dark need light, yin, yang? Doesn't all the dark reported about Angelina for example (several marriages, tattoos, Billy Bob's blood, family feuds, stealer of husbands) enhance the light (devoted mother, UN champion, Oscar winning actress, extraordinary beauty, loving partner). People, lives are complicated. It makes being here interesting. For me, it's the grit in the oyster makes the pearl every time - how about you?