Monday, October 15, 2012

The French Deal

About 3 years ago I met some French filmmakers for a coffee. I don't really remember how they came to read my screenplay, Chaser, but they did and wanted to make it. However they felt they weren't ready for a feature length movie but would work towards that level.

Two weeks ago they emailed me and said they were ready to make it.

Chaser, oddly enough, would make a good French movie as it's more of a mindset than an American story. When I proposed to my agent that I wanted to write a screenplay with a man in a car for 70 pages he suggested I don't.

My story concerns an average guy who's lost his job and at a stoplight he witnesses a girl around 18 being abducted by an ominous looking man. Our guy begins to follow the man who drives away in a van. He wants to believe what he saw wasn't real, but it comes back to him in his memory.

However his memory is slanted, he's on meds and each time he remembers the incident, it's different. Sometimes it's a real abduction, other times it's the driver and the girl laughing and joking. The story is about memory and was inspired by Gore Vidal's autobiography in which he uses the word Palimpsest.

What it means is the ability to write on a paper and erase it, something that was common a thousand years ago by the Greeks and Egyptians as they wrote on papyrus, which they could wipe clean and write again.  Another theory is that we don't really remember a particular event, rather we remember the memory.

And that's what happens to our car driver. He begins to doubt what he saw and each time he remembers it, it changes a little. But he continues following the van which leads him into the desert and, ultimately, to find out the truth about the abduction.

You can probably see why it would be better as a French movie as it's not a linear story that is more acceptable to an American audience. I get these kinds of ideas now and then and find myself writing them even though I know American producers wouldn't like it, or at least most of them.

So it seems like we have a deal, a contract is flying around the cloud and hopefully it will happen. The director will rewrite my screenplay into French and I'm fine with that as I certainly couldn't even with my Canadian French.

The budget would be low and it would be filmed in France, I've been told about the location which seems to be as isolated as the Mojave desert is outside of Los Angeles. 

And so, I'm going to sell the screenplay but also will be filming a "making of.." documentary about the film and how it will work with an original English screenplay translated into French. 

So it could be a little bit of an adventure. With airfare included of course.


  1. I know a good actor that would be right for that; he would have the added problem in that he doesn't speak French so would be stymied at every turn. Who? I hear you ask - why Moi, bien entendu!