Over the years I've tried and failed to write some feature film screenplays. I've never done anything with them and probably never will. But they'd all make superb films.
1. The Hills Were Joyful Together
I recently met an old friend I hadn't seen for years and he reminded me of my ill-fated cinematic adaptation of The Hills Were Joyful Together, a book I had first studied for A Level English (ie 25 years ago). Written by Roger Mais, the novel is set in the 'yards' (sort of shanty towns) of Kingston, Jamaica in the 1950s. Even when studying it as a 16-year-old I could see it as a great film. It has all the ingredients: colourful characters with lashings of sex and violence as well as elements of spirituality, beauty and poetry. Part heist movie, part prison movie, part romance, part rich soap opera that is life, part social commentary – it has it all. I always loved the title too.
What would it be like? The Harder They Come meets The Shawshank Redemption meets City of God.
2. Pigeon's Luck: Tretchikoff
I mentioned this recently (and not so recently), that I'd love to make a film version from Tretchikoff's autobiography: it would be a glorious 1950s Technicolor/CinemaScope musical in the style of Vincente Minnelli. As the book cover says, 'It reads like a thriller' and indeed the film would be an arty, kitsch mix of thriller, war movie, rags to riches tale exploring notions of taste, art and celebrity, spanning Russia, China, Singapore, Indonesia and South Africa.
What would it be like? Lust for Life meets I'm Not There meets Performance meets Douglas Sirk meets Powell and Pressburger.
3. Grey Belt
An urban martial arts film set in London conceived of around the time of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Matrix, I wrote some of this over a decade ago in a small town near Cannes with a woman who developed a limp (detailed here). It features a horseback chase scene through Brixton and Wimbledon and a fight scene on the tube. We never finished it.
What would it be like? Well, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon meets (say) Bullet Boy.
4. Trilogy of Westerns
Yes, there's another more famous trilogy of westerns in existence but these ones, set in New Orleans, Tijuana and Jakarta respectively, are decidedly modern in outlook (maybe even post-modern). I wrote a few pages of dialogue with a waiter in New Orleans almost twenty years ago; it hasn't really progressed that much since then. But they do all involve a stranger wandering into town...
What would it be like? Erm, it would be like the best trilogy of westerns EVER!
5. Found Object
This is the time travelling antiques roadshow movie mentioned recently. It'll be a novel first, to be followed swiftly by a blockbuster movie.
What would it be like? Indiana Jones meets the Antiques Roadshow.
Previously on Barnflakes:
Homeless Movies, my DVD six years in the making.
See also: Barnflakes on YouTube.