some may say I’m a dreamer
Sometimes there’s a project that you just feel so incredibly, over-the-moon fortunate to be involved in that you can’t let it go. And in this industry, it often feels as if you don’t have any control over that. Screenplay readings happen with no guarantee of anything materializing in the future. A play is a beautiful experience but it ends eventually (well, unless it’s Phantom of the Opera… that thing has been running on Broadway forever).
I have had the ridiculous luck to be involved in two theatrical versions of Carry On and I still cannot believe that Jim Tierney trusted me with this role. I love her like family. And she brought me some of the best moments I’ve experienced on stage. (Just as a catch up about the story- it’s a cop and a nurse on the night John Lennon was shot, very raw and unvarnished.)
But then the run ends and everyone involved muses on the ways to keep it going. Practicality sets in and the project fades into the past. Or that’s one scenario… and a reality that was NOT acceptable for me. A few people who saw the last theatrical production mentioned that it should be a film. And being the true dreamer that I am (and someone with a steel trap of a memory), I didn’t forget that.
Right before the new year, I sat in a cool diner near Union Square with Jim and we plotted out how to make Carry On into a movie. Reason be gone- this was happening. Thankfully we are both brazen and foolishly unafraid.
Our plan, hatching among cups of diner coffee and brunch, came to be.
We shot the film version of the play in the historic Gene Frankel theatre, working with an amazingly talented crew and using the venue’s theatrical space as our framework.
And a few days ago, I got to watch the first rough cut of the film. My heart pounded as I clicked play- all of the normal nerves compounded by the fact that I helped this get made. I care so much about this story and this character that I hoped it looked like I remembered in my head. I had these visions of a few playbacks and a few stills- but would it be all I had hoped? Would my work be worthy of what this play means to me?
Sometimes a rough cut is well…. rough. Then sometimes it is truly a very close representation of what the work will be in the end. I have a friend who’s a designer and she is very careful about showing any rough or developmental sketches- it can color the whole thing. Then I know a writer who loves to toss all the bits and pieces out there in the unapologetic hope that sharing them will bring clarity.
This version of the Carry On, while still in its creation stage, was truly lovely. You know something has been created by an immensely gifted editor when you forget it’s you (as happened quite a bit- although the accent and the raw demeanor of the character probably aided in that).
Here’s a screenshot. I will share more soon and definitely share how the life of this film unfolds. All in all, this just reminded me that while it’s not easy, it IS possible to your own work, on your own terms, in a way that contributes to the industry as a contemporary. Much more satisfying and really exciting!
Something else rockin’ my world this week is that Aaron Sorkin is doing the press rounds as his newest show begins this week. Getting to read about his creative process and hear him speak is a masterclass. Makes me want to pull out Sports Night and The West Wing to get ready.
Hope this finds you well and perhaps defying some creative odds,