Toby Harvard is a photographer and storyboard artist based in London that shoots on both film and digital with an Olympus E-500 and a Pentax K1000. His work is melancholic, mysterious and intriguing, and entirely focused on the mood and atmosphere of the moment rather than a specific subject.
1. What is the genesis of Come to Daddy?
Ant Timpson was a producer on The Greasy Strangler, which I'd written with my mate Jim Hosking. He asked if I'd be interested in writing a movie for him to direct as his debut. I was in, regardless of the idea.
Then he told me he wanted to do something based on his own experience of spending time in a house with his father's dead body. I was hooked instantly. The more he told me about his experience, the more the ideas started flowing, and over the next few days it started taking shape.
2. What is your writing process when you wrote Come to Daddy?
Quick, instinctive, frenetic. I loved the man-in-house-with-dead-dad idea, and I saw it as one chapter in a bigger, twistier tale. So that became the midpoint lynchpin sequence - then it was a question of how to build up to that, and where to go afterwards.
I'd been wanting to write a script about a man reconnecting with an estranged father for a while. I'd also been thinking about an idea where a sheltered hipster gets thrown into an underworld of crime and violence, so all those ideas seemed to meld together nicely for this. I started cooking up the story, Ant weighed in with his thoughts, we tweaked it here and there, and I jumped into writing the script. The first draft came together in less than a week.
Then Ant and I talked it all through, really ironed out the creases, and got it ready to shoot.
3. List three adjectives to describe Come to Daddy?
Deceitful. Gleeful. Sad.
4. Were there other titles you came up with before Come to Daddy? If so, what were they?
Ant and I were picturing the artist Skrillex when visualising the Norval character. I read an interview with him where he said his favourite song was Flim, by Aphex Twin. Also one of my favourites. Then I remembered it's on the Aphex Twin EP titled... Come To Daddy. That was that.
5. What writers inspired you to become a screenwriter?
Harold Pinter and Roald Dahl.
6. What are your thoughts on Elijah Wood playing Norval Greenwood, Stephen McHattie playing Gordon or/and any other cast members in Come to Daddy? Did you meet them on set?
Elijah was a producer on The Greasy Strangler, and I knew he and Ant were close. So I really wrote Norval with him in mind. I don't think there's another actor on Earth who could have played the character, not to put too fine a point on it. And he exceeded all expectations - it's a brilliant, incredibly layered performance, with a lot of different notes - he's funny, awkward, creepy, sad, vulnerable, vicious, lost.
I didn't go to the set - I was in the Dominican Republic with Hosking, shooting our AdultSwim show Tropical Cop Tales. But I'd watch the dailies Ant was shooting and was blown away.
The performances are all perfect - even though everyone's style is different, they all feel like they're part of this strange alternate Come To Daddy world that Ant conjured up.
7. What’s your favorite line in Come to Daddy?
There's a reference to the British politician Michael Heseltine that I'm amazed made it into the movie.
8. Did you know how Come to Daddy would end or did it come to you while writing the story?
Yes. It was all plotted out. We felt that after all the bile and deception and violence and skullduggery, it needed to culminate in a moment of pure sincere emotion. Almost as a reward for the viewer, the light at the end of the tunnel.
9. How was your overall experience working with the director Ant Timpson?
Ant is brilliant. Full of incredible ideas, and unafraid to go all the way and take big risky gambles. His experience with the nuts and bolts of sets and logistics and budgets really helped us streamline the script and make it shootable.
We're working on something now that goes a lot further than Daddy - into some truly mythical territory.
10. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter, how would one get you to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
I'd imagine going via agents/managers is the best way.
11. If you have your own talk show, who would your first three guests be (besides me, of course)?
I'd like to have a talk show where the guests are normal people talking about their lives. A bus driver, a travelling salesman, perhaps the regional manager of a cardboard manufacturing company.
12. What were your hobbies as a kid? What are your hobbies now?
My hobbies as a child are the same as my hobbies as an adult: binge-drinking and writing. And occasionally photography.
13. What was the last great film you saw? What was the last great book you read?
Film: Frenzy (Hitchock/Anthony Shaffer). Book: The Tokyo Zodiac Murders by Soji Shimada.
14. Last question, what show would you like to make a cameo?
Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares.
All the best to Toby Harvard on his latest project. Come to Daddy will be in theaters on Friday, February 7 (USA) and on February 21( Canada). You can pre-order the film on Amazon right now! I hope you check it out and have a great time. Thank you for stopping by here as always. Don't forget to stop by again and tell a friend or two about novelpro junkie. Make this blog your first stop all things entertainment.