1. First off, what are your thoughts about the coronavirus pandemic, and how are you dealing with it?
It’s a wake up call, isn’t it? We’re looking down the barrel unless we wise up to what we’re doing to the planet and each other. The only way to regard it is as a warning of worse to come. If we go back to the way we were before it struck, we’re screwed all ends up. And we’ll deserve it. The optimist in me likes to think that it will fundamentally re-order society. The virus has proved, quite literally, that we cannot survive without strong public services, the very services that have been denigrated and pummelled for the last thirty or forty years. Is this a 1945 moment? I hope so.
2. In one word how would you sum up A Good Woman is Hard to Find?
3. How did you get the idea for A Good Woman is Hard to Find?
It was a reaction to austerity. I remember watching Cameron and Clegg when that coalition was formed and they were giving a speech together, all chummy chummy, these two very shiny-faced Oxford-educated, privileged white men who had never known a day’s want in their lives and there they were telling us that we were all in this together. These were people, and their acolytes, who didn’t have the first idea about how most people lived their lives. I wanted to write about some of those lives. I tried to imagine the most vulnerable person imaginable and came up with Sarah, the heroine of Good Woman. But the film couldn’t be a political tract. Instead I just tried to imagine how I could screw up this woman’s life even more.
4. What was the most difficult thing about writing the screenplay?
Originally, it was the character of Tito, the drug-dealer who busts into Sarah’s life and is the catalyst for the story. I just couldn’t make him come alive. He was just a thug. There was nothing attractive whatsoever about him. He needed lots of work. I sort of hit on the idea that he should say oddly intelligent things which hinted at the kind of person he might have been if he had been born into a particular milieu, if he’d had a proper education. That way, he became much more interesting. He echoed the theme of the story – waste. How all the people in the story could have been something different and much better people in a society which hadn’t brutalised them.
5. How was your overall experience working with the director, Abner Pastoll?
Great. We hit it off right from the start, Abner, myself, and Abner’s production partner, Junyoung Jang.
6. What is your writing habit in general?
I usually work late at night. It’s the only time I know I won’t be interrupted.
7. What are your thoughts on Sarah Bolger, Edward hogg, Andrew Simpson, or any of the cast members playing the roles that you wrote?
Did you ever meet them on set? I didn’t to go the set. I find film sets very boring. Re the casting, I thought it was excellent. Sarah has been getting a lot of well-deserved plaudits, but I thought Edward and Andrew also brought something interesting and unexpected to their roles.
8. Did you make a cameo in this film?
If not, why didn’t you? No interest in that.
9. Congratulations on winning the 68th British Academy Film Awards for Best Live Action Short Film (Boogaloo and Graham), could you express the emotions you went through or what you were thinking while giving your speech at the podium?
Oddly, I was very calm about the whole thing. Honestly, and I mean honestly, I didn’t even think of what I might say on the podium. It seemed to go down all right.
10. You, along with Michael Lennox, were nominated for Academy Award for Best Live Action Short film (Boogaloo and Graham) at the 87th Oscar?
How did it feel to be at the ceremony? Which celebrity/celebrities did you see or meet? It’s a very long ceremony. I spent most time at the bar. I met Clint Eastwood and got a photograph taken with him then sent the photograph to my mates with the caption, ‘Anybody know who this old guy is? He keeps following me around’.
11. Could you express any interesting fun fact that occurred during the Oscar ceremony?
Did you go to any of the after-parties? If so, which one? It’s all a blur. I can say that after the Baftas everyone got taken for a great meal in Grosvenor House (I think) while at the Oscars the food at the Governor’s Ball consisted of a baked potato in some foil wrapping. Land of the Free where nothing’s free.
12. Have you considered adapting any short story/novella/novel for a feature film? If so, which one?
13. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter, how would one get you or any experience screenwriter to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
The best route for that author would be to write screenplay themselves.
14. What TV show have you binge-watched lately?
‘Better Call Saul’
15. Last question, what is your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant?
To the horrified consternation of my wife and children, my favourite food is turkey-neck soup. Unfortunately, nowhere serves it. Instead, I have to make do with my mother making it once a year on Christmas Eve, where I’m the only who eats it.
Many thanks to Ronan Blaney for this interview. I hope you all will go check out A Good Woman Is Hard to Find. It is now available on VOD. Choose your preference: Vudu, FandangoNow, iTune, Google Play and Amazon. Watch it with your friends or family if you will. Thanks for stopping by once again to read a superb interview. I hope you keep coming back. Tell or share this interview with someone that might be interested in it. Take care of yourself and each other.