Tuesday, 19 August 2014

2012-2013: Doubting, waiting, rewriting

At the end of the summer 2012, things were starting to slow down. We were getting messages from very interesting people wondering about the project, like Oscar-winning makeup artist Dave Elsey (Star Wars ep III, Mission Impossible, X-Men First Class - he won the Oscar for Wolfman, together with Rick Baker), who said he would love to be involved. But what more was there to do for Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein, until funding would come together? So I took some time for other projects. First, I wrote a script called The Werewolf Mummy, an adventure/horror story set during the crusades. Jean-Noël and I also had a pet project: a film version of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis, so I worked on developing that script too. And of course, I started working on Jane Clark's movie Slate & Kelly, a buddy cop story set in Paris.

By the end of 2012, I was worried to realize that the company had been in existence for one year, and Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein was still not happening. I started to think that maybe we had aimed too high, too fast, and maybe a microbudget film would be a good way to climb our way up to a serious budget. So I put the first hand to a script called House of VHS, which was designed to use only one location (a house), a supernatural menace (VHS) and a total cast of no more than six characters.


Berlin 2013
During that time, Parkland Pictures and I were discussing the script for Sherlock Holmes vs Frankenstein, and it became clear that it could use a real rewrite. To work on it, producer John Cairns brought in a seasoned writer called Stephen Marians, who used to be a production and writing partner of actor Simon Ward (Peter Cushing's reluctant assistant in Hammer's Frankenstein must be destroyed). Stephen came up with his own version of the script, that I was able to read right after the Berlin Film Market, in March 2013. Then we spent a weekend in London, with Stephen and the Parkland people, examining page by page his version and mine, and sorting out what to keep in each – and what to add, change, etc. I went home with a pile of notes, and assembled the new and improved version of the script.

The final version came together during Cannes, in May. During that same festival, I had a few good meetings about the project, and in June, I went on to pitch it to finance people thanks to a selective program run by a group called Peacefulfish. What I heard there could be summarized as: “sounds great, but what have you done before, where's your first feature film?” Well, luckily enough, my first feature happened to be on its way.

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