Two Into One

Posted on February 17, 2009 by Mike Riddell

The smallest of fishhooks. One of the things we did in Cannes was meet with the NZ Film Commission’s development team. They were funding what was intended to be the final draft of the film, before it headed to the Board for a production funding application.

They had discovered what the ‘problem’ was with the script. Two of the female lead characters needed to be combined into one. I listened with initial apprehension, but took the suggestion on board. Don’t bite the hand that feeds, and all that. And, more importantly, I could see the rationale which lay behind it.
So when I got back from Cannes, I ripped into the next draft. No substantial change in a script is simple, because it alters the entire structure and everything needs to be reworked. Nevertheless, I ended up with a script which I felt was halfway decent, and met the requirements of the NZ Film Commission.
All of our production partners seemed to agree. Except one. Our director, Gillies Mackinnon. He hated the new script. And he fumed about development executives ruining good projects. He and I had some of our usual blunt exchanges. But the upshot seemed to be that either the script went or he went.
Another chasm in the smooth highway of film production… where to from here?

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