Cubierta-The-Chalenge-script-bw-kdpThe Challenge is my adaptation of my father’s bestselling/blockbusting My Uncle Jacinto. In my adaptation bullfighting becomes boxing; Madrid/La Quinta, Cape Town/Mandela Park, and white faces, colored or black. The script has been to IFFR/International Film Festival Rotterdam where I applied for production grants to produce the film in Cape Town with Tim Spring (Raw Target, Reason to Die, etc.) as director. They called it “a near miss”. The script is only available in English, though the first draft of a Spanish translation is underway.

This is a huge project - Odin, Vikings, adventures, terrorism, Islam, Swedish feminism, etc. - and its two first semi-presentable book-drafts are now seeing the light of day (in English and Swedish). These texts, I believe, sooner or later, will become movies, but as I, quite moronically, have been working in two languages simultaneously (thus producing more headaches than high quality finished text) the most pressing question is “Shall I proceed in English or Swedish?” These scripts I would not be capable to develop to the standard I would like without the assistance of a publisher/production company.

Senior, before leaving his homeland (Austro-Hungary), in order to save on the rent, took up residence in the famous Turkish Baths of Budapest (the "seal castle"). In this book, which is mainly a love story, we follow the protagonist - a good-looking actor, as an upper-class girl falls in love with him - against backstories taken from the lives of the girl and the other "seals" and their various survival-scams. I am weak on love-stories (yet even I can see that there is plenty of potentials), and though the ending is great, I need help to make it work cinematically. As 5 of 7 Senior-books, The Seal Castle is now for the first time available in English

 

Dona-Juana-script-ingles-kdpDoña Juana must once have been a theater script, but the original score has been lost. What instead got published in Spanish was "a script dressed up as a novella" (Senior's Spanish publishers didn't publish theatre scripts). Senior worked as a stage manager and as a theater director in his youth, but I do not know whether Doña Juana was ever staged, but if so, it must have been back in the 1930s. However, as a mime, it has been performed by Marcel Marceau in the 1960s. I have had this text turned back into a readable script but I haven't given it the attention it deserves. As my Doña Juana agent, I want you to help see it developed, rehearsed, and staged. Here is the first attempt at music, with and without lyrics.

Karl, a sculptor, escapes WW 2 to Tangiers (Morocco). One day he finds what obviously is his (3-4y old) son at his doorstep with a letter: You always wanted a son without a mother: here he is. Do not try to find out who I am. XXX. As the war end over the boy ask his father to find his mother. There are three possible women, and Kurt goes in search (if you are a producer/director and need to read more, you are the wrong person): Naples, Paris, and Avila. This is the first of my father’s three major novels and the only not to become a film. It has been very much improved (esp. as given the content editing it originally never received) as it was adapted for cine, and (for the first time) translated into English. I am contemplating working this book towards synopsis/scenario, but I need ideas as to the structure. A straight/traditional timeline is not an option, and I am looking for something "a la Tarantino" (see below). Mother Unknown was about to become a movie at Senior's demise, and there was a script that got lost, though I still retain Senior's synopsis.

Andres Laszlo Sr. wrote My Uncle Jacinto/Mi Tio Jacinto in 1955, and it immediately became a blockbuster movie (Ladislao Vajda produced, Pablito Calvo starred). Today the movie is a regular contender for the Spanish or Hispanic number (or top-five, or top-ten spot) "all-times" in film festivals. Considering how popular it was/is, it’s strange that nobody has asked me to let them turn it into an animated movie. I think of it as: One of the most popular children’s books/movies never to have been animated. I want an agent to find someone to turn My Uncle Jacinto into an animated movie.

cubierta-script-Paco-ingles-kdpWhereas the original book-text of Paco Never Fails emphasized the anthropological aspect and was a history-drama, the movie focused on (a strong, dark) the comedy aspect. The original (book) text came with crime-undertones, and one can feel how Senior was considering adding a murder-mystery dimension (a genre that was not as popular at the time as it is today). Even though some new producer(s) have been trying to buy the adaptation rights (and this could very well be on the cards), I have started (still early days) to re-adapt the original text into the murder mystery it originally nearly became, and I have some thoughts about setting the action in Mumbai or Goa; not because I spend the winters there but because it (esp. "Portuguese" Goa) would make a much better background than, as in the original, Madrid.

Paco Never Fails is originally set in Madrid in the early 1940s, just after the end of the Spanish Civil War. Here we meet Paco Garcia who makes his living by mating with young girls from the countryside: girls who have come to Madrid to make better lives for themselves as wet-nurses (after unwanted pregnancies) and sooner or later need to boost the milk flow. Though this impregnation is an occupation that seldom gets talked about, at the time (allegedly, it still is) it was a very real profession, and the impregnator most likely to succeed i.e. ‘who never failed,’ was the one highest in demand. However, Paco has failed once, so when his wife finally becomes pregnant, this father of thousands realizes… This impregnation was an occupation also in India, and since I stay in and around Mumbai (mainly in Goa that with its Portuguese influence probably is a better setting than Mumbai to make the story more dramatic, contrasting and believable)... I would like to develop/adapt a Goa-script for Bollywood, and I need expert assistance both anthropologically (for reality-check), and for "Bollywood style dramatization".

Finishing my own book-writing projects, as well as translating and making Senior’s texts more commercial is where I have slugged away for the last 10 years. This has resulted in a whole lot of texts intended for “further refinement towards the silver screen,” and I intend henceforth to (in principle) move stuff along: idea >> structure >> synopsis >> scenario >> treatment >> script. I was, of course, tempted to startat this point 10 years ago, and one reason I didn’t was that I figured I had better first get our texts in order/prepared-for-cine. Though there are three scripts at various stages of development, the main part of “scripts” is about ideas: old movies, short stories, and novels that have the potential to become new scripts. 

  • OLD MOVIES TO SCRIPT

    Paco Never Fails (old movie), and Doña Juana (old theatre) have already started their journeys towards becoming scripts and are dealt with under the heading “SCRIPTS” below. Sin Uniforme (old movie) I have no plans for, and Marcel Marceau’s performance Dom Juan (mime-drama) I think of as a one-off. The only old movie left is thus My Uncle Jacinto, my father’s blockbuster from 1955. Read More

     

     

     

     

    My Uncle JacintoToday the movie is often shown at film festivals where it is a regular contender for Best Spanish or Hispanic Film of All Times, or a one-to-five, or one-to-ten spot. Considering how popular it was/is, it’s strange that nobody has sought to turn it into an animated movie. I think of it as one of the most popular children’s books/movies never to have been animated. Honestly, how many best-selling children's novels - that have been translated into nine languages and adapted into a blockbuster movie that has never been animated - do you know of? Well, I know of only one. This sounds like “great potential” but as I have never written an animated script, I will probably have to wait until an offer comes along. Read More

     

     

  • NOVEL TO SCRIPT

    One of Senior’s novels was about to become a movie at his demise (Mother Unknown), Senior’s French publishers recommended him to approach the Spanish film industry with another novel/novella/theatre play (Doña Juana), his first published book also has movie potential (The Seal Castle), and Junior’s adventure series (The Caspian Connection) is designed to become cine.

    • Mother Unknown was Senior's first major novel, and he was turning it into a script at the time of his demise, but though I have some of the correspondence and Senior's synopsis, I have lost the script itself. However, whether or not it is recovered, this is a text out of which good cine could be made. As I translated it into English I was able to improve the text quite significantly, as here, unlike in Jacinto and Paco, Senior was still "unfinished" as a writer and thus quite improvable. As, in addition, the text had never received proper content editing, had been given a deplorable Spanish-to-French translation, and had not been written with cine in mind, the improvement really is quite dramatic. So considering that there was French interest in the terrible French text, in the 1980s, I feel that there ought to be a good chance that my into-English adaptation shall become the base for a script that can do rather well, especially as the book-text up until now has not been available in English. Also, there is today an “a la Tarantino” method of structuring scripts – a method that was not available back in the 1980s – that will suit the story-line excellently well. Read More
    •  Doña Juana. This was once a theatre script but got turned into a novella, and then (I have had it) turned back into a script. So far it is a very ndeveloped script, but once it has been turned back into the good theater script that it no doubt once was, theatre-to-film script development assistance will be needed. Senior was advised by his publishers, Gallimard, to take the novella (so a reconstructed script should be much better) to the Spanish film industry, something I do not think he ever did (but Marcel Marceau performed it as a mime-drama as Don Juan). However, I think of Doña Juana more as a theatre script than a could-be-movie: let’s see what happens once the script is done. Read More

     

     

    •  The Seal Castle. Senior, before leaving his homeland (Austro-Hungary), in order to save on the rent, took up residence in the famous Turkish Baths of Budapest (the castle). This book, which is a love-story, contains reflections/fantasies from this time. We follow the protagonist, a good-looking actor, as an upper-class girl falls in love with him, against backstories of a black boxer who sells his skeleton (a bit racist despite my efforts, but I can fix that), and various staying-alive-scams. The ending is not (esp. cinematically) as good as it could have been, but there is potential. Read More

     

     

     

    • The Caspian Connection. This is a huge project, and it’s first semi-presentable book-drafts are only now seeing the light of day (in English and Swedish). These texts, I believe, sooner or later, are likely to become movies, but as I moronically have been working in two languages simultaneously, thus producing more headaches than texts, the most important present question is “Shall I proceed in English or Swedish?” These scripts I would not be capable to develop to the standard I would like without help. Read More

     

     

     

     

     

  • SHORT STORY TO SCRIPT

    Short stories - that often have been rewritten so as to read closer to treatments - are picked from the 49 short stories that make up The Tale of Two Knaves. There are at least a dozen stories that could be turned into scripts. Here are a couple:

    • The Little Wooden Horse is about a circus horse that escapes the merry-go-round in the dark of night and sets his course for the continent where he believes that horses all roam free: America. As he gallops through the night, we follow him on his adventures and we get to know him through his reflections over the nature of the world, us bipeds that have enslaved him, and his fellow animals on the merry-go-round. Yes, of course, he ends up going in a circle. I love the story, that could become a “deep” animated family/children’s movie, and I would be happy to provide it with a pre-treatment rewrite to form the base for further talks. 
    • My Friend in the Photo is a vampire story that could be developed into a movie. It is set in traditional "vampire-country," and in a “vampire setting”. Senior allegedly had some dubious branches on his ancestral tree (ok, so I have them as well but I have been symptom-free for a decade).
    • A Beautiful Girl is a love story with an amazing twist that could be turned into either cine or theater. It is set in post-war Germany, where it delves deep into the nature of the feminine psyche: something that I am not very good at.
    • The Man in the Blue Tuxedo - call it a casino-heist if you will - could be turned into good cine. Also, it has a character that, properly developed, could become ‘worthy of’ his own TV series (as in a wicked version of The Persuaders). Thirdly, it has a casino-part that could contribute to any action movie where the hero needs to stumble upon a cool way to make a huge income.
    • The SpyHere we follow a day in the life of a spy in Italy in the late 1940s. His girlfriend is a spy too (though he doesn't know that), and in this short story - that gives a great insight into the real lives of spies - we (well, the smartest among us) see how our hero gets set up to be framed for murder, only he doesn't realize this. This could be developed into a full-length mystery-thriller, maybe close in spirit to North by Northwest.
    • The Dominant MaleI have a fascination with man-eating tigers and this is one of several tiger-stories (where we see things from the tiger's point of view) set in the Sundarbans (a Bangladeshi/Indian beach jungle). They are all entertaining and reasonably well researched, but I don't really know what to do with them, unless one wants to make a movie starring a man-eating tiger, and played from his point-of-view. Actually, not a bad idea...
    • Sahara 2. Imagine a giant of a man, hitchhiking through the Sahara because it's on his bucket list and that a small feminine man full of hatred at midnight raising a stone to crush the sleeping giant's skull. The giant awakes just in time to raise his hands, and the small man throws the stone beside him; "Scorpion!" he says, and sits down atop the stone so that the big man shall not lift the stone to check for scorpion. There they sit, the hitchhiker desperately trying not to fall asleep (and so be killed), the small, refusing to budge as believing that remaining on the stone until dawn is his only way to survive, and we follow their somewhat strained discussion. Maybe this story could become theater; it contains amazing possibilities if one could just get the discussion right (or if just I could remember it).
  • SCRIPTS

    There are three scrips: Paco Never Fails that is just started but that, if it doesn’t get high-jacked on the way, has great potential; Doña Juana that just has been rewritten into the theatre script it once was and needs lots of work even before it can be staged, and The Challenge that at present is the only presentable script.

    • Paco Never Fails. Gallimard (Prune Berge/TV5) 1999-2002 called me to Paris at least two times in order to sign contracts allowing for new adaptations of the original text (into new movies), but both times it came to nothing. Yet, this suggests that Paco Never Fails could be the stuff of new adaptations for the screen. Also, now a new and much improved English text is available for script-adaptation, something that hopefully can bring some English-language interests. If you have read the book and contemplate getting in contact, it might interest you that in the new version more suspicion has been thrown on Ricardo and the importance of "the blue circle" has been emphasized. Also, I spend much of my winters in Mumbai/Goa, and as I suddenly realized the amazing potentials of changing Paco’s setting from Madrid to Goa (with its Portuguese influence, pitted against Hindu/Muslim sentiments) I decided to write a Paco Never Fails script set in Goa. Ask me where I am in February 2021. Read More

     

    • Doña Juana. This must once have been a theatre script but got turned into a novella. I have now turned back into a theater script. So far a very bad script, admittedly, but once it has been turned into a good theatre script, a theatre-script-to-film-script attempt will commence. Read More

     

     

     

     

    • The Challenge is my adaptation of my father’s blockbusting My Uncle Jacinto. In my adaptation Senior’s bullfighting becomes boxing, Madrid/La Quinta becomes Cape Town/Mandela Park, and white faces often become colored or black. I turned my adaptation into a script (The Challenge: Script) and did all the nitty-gritty, whereupon I presented the project to International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) where I applied for production grants to produce the film in Cape Town with Tim Spring (Raw Target, Reason to Die, etc.) as director. They said it was “a near miss”. The script is only available in English, though the first draft of a Spanish translation is underway. Read More

     

     

(Project Laszlo & Laszlo contains a smaller but upgraded version of this article)

"Movies" are about the three movies that have been made from Andres Laszlo Senior's texts and scripts, and the lack of payment from the corporations that have broadcasted these movies (or, from the individuals/organizations that have sold to these broadcasting corporations the rights to do so, "forgetting" about my father and his rights to royalties as a writer/co-writer of original text and/or film-script). "Scripts" are about the possibility of new movies/scripts: a new adaptation of Paco Never Fails, a script for Mother Unknown, an animated version of My Uncle Jacinto, finding new script-ideas in The Laszlo & Laszlo Chronicles that contains 45 short stories, and the possibility of staging Dona Juana as a theatre play or operetta. Also, my The Challenge already exist as a script    VIDEO

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The Challenge is influenced by Andres Laszlo Sr.'s bestselling (and, as a movie, blockbusting) book My Uncle Jacinto. As a novel, it falls between adult and youth novel (a bit like The Little Prince with which the book shares many similarities). My father could "get away with this" - i.e. publishing in-between genres" - as he at the time was an established writer. My adaptation, The Challenge, also falls between genres, but as a movie, all those problems vanish and it falls firmly within the "Family Movie" category. Watch the  VIDEO.

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