There’s a fragility to film-mak­ing ... we can­not be daunted by that task

Huddersfield Daily Examiner - - FRONT PAGE -

I HAD been a fan of Philip K Dick’s work for quite some time, and I guess the more re­cent ven­tures into my own per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion in read­ing was with short sto­ries.

For the last 17 years, it’s been a pretty busy ride for me, and I would get frus­trated by read­ing nov­els and then hav­ing to stop and read scripts and pro­pos­als and ideas and other things. And then I’d get back to the nov­els and I’d forget where I was and I’d start over. It was very frus­trat­ing.

So when I heard they were do­ing this project, I was re­ally ex­cited.

We worked hard to present some re­ally com­pelling sto­ry­telling that res­onates with today’s life, so it’s not just about cau­tion­ary tales or dystopian so­ci­eties in the fu­ture.

Ev­ery­thing has some­thing to do with how we do things in our mod­ern so­ci­ety. I imag­ine that mak­ing what are es­sen­tially 10 slightly shorter fea­ture films in two dif­fer­ent con­ti­nents si­mul­ta­ne­ously is quite hard work. Did you know what you were let­ting your­self in for? IT WAS one of the most dif­fi­cult things that I have been in­volved with in my ca­reer.

We couldn’t let our­selves off the hook, and we didn’t.

We painstak­ingly went through all 10 sto­ries, with 10 dif­fer­ent cast, 10 dif­fer­ent pro­duc­tion de­sign­ers, 10 dif­fer­ent di­rec­tors, 10 dif­fer­ent writ­ers. You’re deal­ing with a mas­sive amount of cast and crew.

We were very cre­ative in the way that we could re-use por­tions of sets at times, but ba­si­cally it was some­thing that was costly and time-con­sum­ing.

The ef­fort was great, but doesn’t any­thing that’s worth­while al­ways take a lot of ef­fort?

And we hope that peo­ple in the UK and the US and around the world will be able to re­late to th­ese sto­ries, and maybe feel bet­ter about them­selves, or so­ci­ety, or re­alise that things could be worse, or re­joice in the time pe­riod they’re in.

Even just an es­cape for an hour is a valu­able tool in life. Steve Buscemi as Ed, Hol­l­i­day Grainger as Honor, Bryan Cranston as Silas, Ter­rence Howard as Ge­orge, and Anna Paquin as Sarah in Elec­tric Dreams There is such an ar­ray of act­ing, writ­ing and di­rect­ing tal­ent in­volved in the se­ries – you must have been knocked side­ways by the re­sponse. WHAT we were greatly sur­prised by was the level of tal­ent that were al­ready fans of Philip K Dick’s work.

We had peo­ple com­ing to us right and left. We were very lucky to be able to pick and choose whom we thought re­ally had a grasp of ma­te­rial and the story, peo­ple who were in­ven­tive and cre­ative. We have been very lucky in that sense.

It wasn’t with­out its mo­ments of tur­moil; in some cases we were run­ning up against time prob­lems, or other pit­falls or ob­sta­cles. But what a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. What is it about Philip K Dick that has made his sto­ries en­dure, and have made us go back time and again to adapt them? I THINK it’s be­cause you can­not re­buke it. When you’re talk­ing about fu­tur­is­tic sto­ries, no one can say ‘Oh, that wouldn’t hap­pen’.

If you talk about pe­riod pieces, his­to­ri­ans or crit­ics may go back and say ‘It’s in­ac­cu­rate’.

You can defini­tively say that, if a piece of art was wrong. You can say ‘That wasn’t what hap­pened in World War II’ or ‘El­iz­a­bethan hair­styles weren’t worn that way’, but you can­not pick apart the fu­ture the same way, for the ob­vi­ous rea­son.

There’s some­thing em­pow­er­ing to the au­di­ence about that, and I think Philip K Dick tapped into that long ago. He knew that when you’re telling fu­tur­is­tic sto­ries you are, by and large, leav­ing it open to the imag­i­na­tion of the reader.

And we want to do some­thing sim­i­lar for the au­di­ence, to em­power them. We want the end of each pro­gramme to be the be­gin­ning of the con­ver­sa­tion, not the end of it.

We want to make peo­ple want to talk about it. Even if it’s just a cou­ple look­ing at each other and say­ing, ‘Wow, do you think it will be like that in the fu­ture?’

That will make me very, very happy, be­cause that’s what art should do. It should get peo­ple in­volved. There’s a vast sup­ply of his sto­ries yet to be used. Is there a dan­ger, as you go for­ward, that you’re go­ing to end up with the more dif­fi­cult ones to film? dif­fi­cult. There’s so many links to the chain that could break at any given time.

There’s a fragility to film-mak­ing, so those of us who are in­volved with it, we can’t be daunted by that task. We can’t be de­terred by the dif­fi­culty of it.

We just have to say, ‘This story moves me, I want and need to shep­herd this story to fruition, and let’s do the best we can to do it’.

That’s all we can ask of our­selves.

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