I co-wrote a screenplay with Felicity Evans, based on her idea, which at the time was called The Welcome – a horror movie with a social slant, about immigrants coming to the UK. It was commissioned by Starchild Pictures, who got ace director Remi Weekes involved. There were a couple of drafts, with Remi doing his own take on the original screenplay and giving it a new title: His House.
Then the fun began. The buzz around it was huge. Numerous companies expressed interest. The Weinstein Company was one. They said they wanted exclusive distribution rights, didn’t get them, and then got annoyed about it. To express their irritation at the producers taking the project to New Regency – or just throw a spanner in the works – they slapped a $10m lawsuit on them.
So, the whole project was stalled just when it was hot to trot and precisely because everyone wanted it. All dressed up and nowhere to go.
That was how it was for a while. But then Harvey hit the headlines. As investors and partners fled to distance themselves from the allegations of rape and sexual misconduct, the Weinstein Co took a tumble. Eventually it collapsed and filed for bankruptcy.
And that, pretty much, is where we are now, with the project apparently free to progress – which it is doing. You can read the full story by clicking on the image above or by going here.
Right now, we have a director, casting director and set designer and casting is beginning, so things are looking good. Obviously, I’ll keep you posted – but keep your fingers crossed…
So, I prepared a little surprise for any potential trick-or-treaters (well, there’s no point making it easy, is there?).
Meet Wilf – a six-foot, free-standing werewolf with glowing red eyes. Should sort out the sheep from the goats.
The head is a relic from Halloweens past, actually made for a hoax story in a magazine many years ago. More on that later. For the ‘body’ I used Sir Pell (see previous post) and added some poseable arms. Just because.
Here’s the work in progress pic.
As you see, Wilf actually appears pretty friendly in daylight. At night, however, emerging from the bushes with an uplighter and his eyes lit… Well, we’ll see who makes it to the door.
Sometimes, you need to hit something with a sword. And occasionally, you want to do so without maiming or killing it. That’s where a pell comes in.
A mainstay of a knight’s training, the pell was essentially a post of approximately human height upon which an individual could practise sword strokes without restraint, building strength and accuracy in a manner that was – in terms of physical commitment, at least – as close to real combat as possible. Often the pell would simply be a rough pole, but later in the medieval period might be fashioned to resemble the enemy of the day.
I wanted a pell I could seriously twat with a variety of weapons. So I made one.
Anyone who has read Hood will recall that Gisburne has an elaborate training device which he calls ‘Sir Pell’, featuring free swinging arms with gimbals and counterweights so it actually responds to attacks with its own counterblows. On one occasion, it knocks Gisburne senseless. I decided to start more simply.
The post is plain timber with a crosspiece at the top, the whole length tightly padded and tied around with hessian sacking. Dimensions are about those of an average man, so mail or other armour can be hung on it if desired. The head is not really designed to withstand heavy blows unprotected (what head is?) but is properly proportioned so a helm will fit it, and is made it so it can take strikes from arrows. An archery target can also be hung over the chest.
I have now given it a good few whacks and can confirm it works well (though the base needs some widening to make it more stable). It’s also immensely therapeutic. You think a punch bag is satisfying? Well, this is the next level.
Even better, though, will be when I dress it up over Halloween to scare the crap out of trick-or-treaters. Time to dig out the old fake wolf’s head, I reckon…