I'm sitting here on an absolutely miserable day, rain pouring out of the harsh grey sky and listening to The Glitch Mob's song 'Bad Wings', an awesome emotive piece that fills my head with pictures and scenarios for the imaginary film clip. I could write, cast and film that clip in a heartbeat.
Because that's what I do, I dream up visuals and situations, piecing together stories and imagery just on the scent of a song, a whiff of inspiration. And it was the same for 'Redeemed'. Except it was Eskimo Joe's song 'Foreign Land' that did it for me with this idea, just over and over on repeat.
And what a dream this idea was, an Australian action film not seen since the likes of Mad Max, a world of colourful characters and powerful imagery.
Draft after draft I carved it from the ether and committed it to paper, casting it in my head, building threads of connection and watching the world of talent, and mentally testing the idea of the actor in the roles I had written, seeing if they fit. Let me paint you the picture of my film with all the elements laid bare.
The lead role of Sam Read I saw a number of great jigsaw pieces that could fit the role of a cool, calm and collected elite soldier, the heart and soul of a warrior brotherhood, with that Aussie black humour to cut through the bullshit cliche. Eric Bana or Hugh Jackman were ideal, tough, strong, compassionate, real.
With Eric Bana, thanks to the power of twitter, and the generosity of Max Markson, celebrity publicist, I had the opportunity to present Redeemed to him. The man is a powerhouse of an actor and one of Australia's best, and just to see him as Sam undergoing his painful journey would have made my dream launch instantly, he would have been the catalyst to be taken seriously.
And that's the thing, I take this seriously, whilst I may be dreaming, I'm not playing at being a film maker.
After two months of talking with his people (his PA, not his agent), Eric declined due to his schedule. He is to play Elvis in the new biographical film 'Elvis and Nixon' about Elvis and his meeting with Nixon to become an agent in the war on drugs. It sounds like an amazing and powerful role for him to flex his creative muscle, and there's no way I could compete with that ha!
Hugh Jackman's Australian agent said the infamous words of 'get in touch when you have finance and distribution', the bane of every film maker with an idea. I'll give Warehouse16 a call as soon as that happens...
The lead female role of Emma and the relationship from which the entire premise of the film hangs is a very important role, they needed to show strength of character, vulnerability at the right time, and had to be stunning to be the obsession of one of the worlds most dangerous gangsters.
A character that had style, grace, an arresting gaze, an independent spirit, but carrying a pain of a shocking past. Who could believably carry that off? Megan Gale that's who.
I don't think this world has seen what she can really do, the hints of it seen in 'I love you too' haven't been given the scope for her to show what she is capable of, Megan should be in a lead role in a feature film speaking in her own accent. Basically she should be in this one. (IMO)
I've had dealings with her agent before at Shanahan Management, for a previous project with another actor, and the 'finance and distribution' thing was brought up as well, but Anne Churchill Brown says it very nicely, so you can't help but walk away thinking 'dammit I will get finance and distribution' if not just to deal with ACB personally ha!
Now they say a story is only as strong as the villain, and I truly believe this, as there are so many films and stories that are let down by their bad guy, that they're only viscious or bad for bad sake. This villain, this Las Vegas Drug Lord, with a fascination for beauty and preserving beauty, capturing it on film and in life, then revelling in the otherside of it, the fascination with death, his visceral need to capture both life and death on camera, and the twisted eastern remedy of bathing in blood to heal his burns, a twisted sociopath, he is a villain to hate, but a villain to watch. He truly loves his girls, but they are all with him for very different reasons. I saw Marton Csokas as the villain.
Marton is one of the most underated actors I've ever seen, his characters are dark and cold yet alive, he breathes into them a restrained yet joyous savagery that is breathtaking and fearsome, and yet he can play warmth and generosity at the drop of a hat. I would have both within the character of King, and I'd want him to show it, to revel in the darkness of the character. I saw in an interview where Marton said he'd like to play a character who bathes in blood...Well here it is, an excessive, dark, collector character with a penchant for blood and beauty.
His offsiders, the queens are important symbols of his insanity, but also his 'ranking' and 'care' of them in a perverted sense.
The role of 'Diamonds' the Undercover Cop sacrificed by corruption and caught in the lair of 'King' is tough, trapped, suffering yet determined to play the role she was given. I see Kelly Overton in the role, as she has an emotional depth that hasn't been given scope either. The film Tekken was awful, but she was amazing, and the only reason why I finished watching the film. She's even an independent film writer/producer (of 'The Collective'), so she understands the process more than most.
The underworld hitman 'The Redeemer' I see played by Frankie Oatway, the man has a presence that just conveys menace yet charm when he wants it.
I even wanted to approach Sam Neill to play the outback town crazy who knows too much, a role where he could cut loose, and let that famous sense of humour of his play out, but he's represented by Shanahan also.
But my dream doesn't just stop there with amazing talent onscreen, it also involves what they're wearing, especially the Queen's, what they appear in is beautiful, powerful and sometimes high fashion. These statement pieces, this quintessential part of who and what they are, the world they're in is so important, to the point I had a go at designing one of the many looks the Queens end up in.
When I first joined twitter, I came across one of the most incredible fashion designer's feed, Alex Perry, synonomous for women's style and grace and began following. I even went so far as telling him that one day I hoped to work with him on a film. It was with Redeemed that I hoped to do so. He replied that you never know it might happen.
As time went on, I began to follow Peter Morrissey, and the JAton Couture boys Jacob Luppino and Anthony Pittorino too. To engage and talk with such talented individuals that are at the pinnacle of Australian Couture and Fashion was indescribable. I dared to dream of a mass collaboration on the film, each designer in charge of a stage of the film for the Queens, showcasing the female form in stunning colour palletes, intrinsically linked in with the colour pallete of the film scene! Hell, I even saw Australia's own Lisa Maree and her crochet swimwear in one scene, just to show what we can do on all levels!
Funny thing is, I haven't dared ask them. Their work is their brand, and I couldn't come to them until I had more to offer, and all I can offer is what I do. Take visuals, and make them on a grand scale, give them another platform where their work, on the actors that appreciate the idea, can be on display any time someone sees the film. Would it be enough? Is heart enough? They are businesses, and if I had the money I'd want them!
And to bind it all together, a rocking Australian soundtrack, to punch through to the next level, music that embodies each part, the rural countryside, the bright city and the dark nightclub lair. Eskimo Joe, Jet, ACDC, Cold Chisel, Ian Moss, The Externals, Pete Murray, Spiderbait contrasted with Pendulum, Seany B, TV Rock, The PotBeleez, The Hilltop Hoods, Bliss n Esso...
This is Redeemed at its height, at its best, with everything as I dreamed. This is how I picture it, with the support of the department of defense, with Ridley Scottesque Blackhawks opening the film, with the best possible cast, with the best possible costume design, with the best possible Aussie soundtrack, and the best possible action film that I could show international audiences, and showcase what Aussies can do. And most of all, something our troops could watch without saying WTF!
So why lay it out like this. Why spill all this out for all to see what I can imagine.
Because I am at a crossroad.
Redeemed has three roads before it that I can take, and looking back on the road I've travelled to get here, well it's been successful so far. My imagination has carried me thus far, and my determination to see it realised has seen results. But...for how long? How long before the dream is doused with cold reality?
Road 1. I continue straight ahead, pushing to realise the International level film I see in my head and my heart and chase the independent private finance I'll need to get it made, because lets face it, the government funding bodies just laugh at me, or greet me with silence. To chase my dream cast. (by being passionate rather than depsperate! ha!) That's the nature of dreams, all it takes is one yes, to snowball. Too many no's and it melts away.
Road 2. I take the lefthand road, scaling the core story right back, removing the excessive villain, the girls, the guns and make it more character based, against a more conventional threat, a national level film. (maybe write Redeemed as it currently is as an ebook)
Road 3. I take the righthand road and scale it back, keep some excess but make the villain more localised, (bikies?) a wash of both. This option doesn't sit as well with me stylistically.
I don't want to be one of those film makers on twitter, begging for money. I made the trailer off my own back, to showcase the idea, as it's the idea that has to be commercially viable as well as entertaining. It has to stand on its own merits.
So there it is. This is where my drive has led me. This is what Redeemed is faced with, and each road is a commitment. So I'll throw it out to you, the audience that has read this far. What sits right with you? What story do you want to see made?
I do have to make mention of one particular twitter supporter of my dream, Brenda Gale, or @breeg who has wholeheartedly supported Road 1, and me, more to the point, and this dream of mine. Unwavering in chasing her own dream, (of an Alex Perry size 8 gown!) she has even more energy to always be promoting mine as well, so thank you Brenda, it is appreciated.
Ex Pertinacia, Victoria.
From Determination, Victory.