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.
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 Jacinto. Today 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
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 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 Spy. Here 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 Male. I 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).
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