A Change of Course
Just thought I'd update everyone on my screenplay project which is being performed at Brave New Works.
After a table read, several discussion and a series of rewrites, I decided to put Eden, Alabama on the back burner for a while, until I could spend more time working out its kinks. The world hasn't seen the last of back-slapping, porn-peddling Shriner Cal Jenkins... he's just taking some time to get to know himself a little better.
Thanks to all the actors who came out for the initial reading (Bryan Davis, Robert Hatch, Mary Kraft, Patrick Parker, Daniel Triandiflou, Christie Vozniak, Patrick Wood), producer Tracy Martin, and most of all actor Daniel Burnley, who has been a huge inspiration in the writing of the Cal Jenkins character -- and will hopefully one day get to wear his fez. And thanks also to Lisa Paulsen and Amy Cook for their feedback and guidance.
In its stead, we're bumping a different project of mine to the front of the line: The Seventh Daughter. This is the script that I am more exciting about writing and directing, but had initially shied away from it because it's a costume picture, set in the U.S. between 1916 and 1920.
The Seventh Daughter is the project that more excited me as a filmmaker, because I can't wait to lose myself in its world. I can already imagine the look and feel and emotional tone of its scenes, envision its shots, practically hear the score. It's the kind of movie I'd love to make... simply for the pleasure of making the movie.
But I was hesitant to do so, right after Psychopathia because I wanted to prove I could do something besides Victorian-era dark intrigue. After sweating over revisions to Eden for several weeks, I finally asked, "prove to who?" If I'm going to undertake another labor of love, it should be A) a project I love and B) a project I actually want to labor over it. And in the end I think The Seventh Daughter will make a better film... and allow me the time and space to develop Eden, Alabama at my own pace (it was the first time I've ever experienced writer's block, and it was pretty scary).
So, here I am, back in the 1910s, in America this time, with a burned-out, opium-addicted carnival psychic and his apprentice: his naive teenage daughter (who has been raised in a convent orphanage). Shades of West of Zanzibar and Applause, with hearty twists of William Lindsay Gresham, Fritz Lang and Louis Feuillade? Abso-doggone-lutely.
Anyone who's seen Psychopathia will be able to recognize the central characters. They appear in the "Divertissement" section of the film (the puppeteer Caglios and his mute daughter).
I'm hoping to use this blog as a way of documenting the workshop process, starting with a cold table read (hopefully next week), continuing through the various readings, workshops, rehearsals, up through the staged reading on Saturday February 24 at 7:00 pm.
Tickets for the event are free and you can already reserve them at the Emory box-office (space is limited, so reservations are recommended).
The director of the staged reading will be Alexandre Harrington, who is uniquely qualified for The Seventh Daughter's particular brand of stylized language. Alexandre specializes in voice and diction, and spent years as an actor and voice coach in London and Paris.
More info on cast, crew and the screenplay's evolution as the process gets started next week.