|I’m also a screenwriter. My first feature film, ‘The Most Fertile Man in Ireland’, starring Kris Marshall from My Family, James Nesbitt and Toyah Wilcox opened in June 2003. It’s a quirky romantic comedy about a geeky dating-agency employee who can’t get a date, until it’s discovered he’s got the highest sperm-count in Ireland.
I was involved in much of the filming process, including the whole seven week shoot. The film-crew hated me being on set – they regard the writer with the same respect they have for the caterers; i.e. somewhere below the Sars virus. But I learned a lot – always to get to the catering truck first, and avoid actors at all costs, because they corner you and suggest rewrites to the script, which invariably involve doubling their number of lines, and cutting everyone else’s.
Since ‘Fertile Man’ I’ve been spending some time in LA, doing the rounds of the Hollywood Studios. This is a wonderful character building exercise in which you go into an office, pitch a story idea until the executive’s eyes glaze over (this usually takes ten minutes), then drive on to the next studio. My favourite venue is Disney in Burbank, where the hedges are clipped into Mickey Mouse figures and the main building is crowned by ten foot statues of the Seven Dwarves. The message is clear - this is a serious artistic company.
At the moment I’ve completed a script of ‘My Fat Brother’ for Kenneth Branagh to direct, and sold a script to New Line Cinema called ‘What a Man’s Gotta Do’, which looks like it might actually get made this year.