Scofield, Benedict Cumberbatch, Imperial War Museum discussed on The Q&A with Jeff Goldsmith
But now let's jump right back into my conversation with CO writer Christie Wilson. Cairns it's about her debut feature film nineteen seventeen. What was the left turn? What was something early on? It was an idea like the gas attack or something else that you really thought yet. This is where the move is going to go that you eventually got away from because it's always interesting to hear those those first footsteps. I am quite good question. I don't know if I have an answer that we'd we'd never really had. We never really changed the intention of the film. It was always. We wanted to write a war movie. That was not gonNA glorify war that was going to be about stopping a battle. That's new accident. We wanted to write a film that was very character driven very personal. We wanted to write film. That didn't really ever raced on the fact that we need to capture this flag black or shoot this road talion so like all those kind of ideals like this movie's really about what lanes will you go to someone you love that was baked into the DNA UvA there was no real opportunities. Change that I think the only the only ever knew that we ever go and fought back on was making benedict. cumberbatch character was making him a villain. That was as you know and we we we were like I was Gonna ask that because and we talked about it a little in the article there is no antagonism this movie other than time in the word self and it's really more the situation and you as you to use your term baked into the script you said earlier on that. Make sure that somebody else is in the room when you deliver the orders. Because there's a chance he won't follow through. And and so what was he ever again. Agnes and there was some of you walked back or no. We never walked to bike. We always had that Lennon because again for my little heart monitor I wanna do similar where you go look. ooh Like even if he gets there. Will it matter because I for that war. Sometimes it genuinely didn't matter like there where men who just wanted ended the fight. I am so we always wanted that. Element of suspense about it. And that was one of the reasons that benedict cumberbatch says you're too late because you want the audience to generally be like what what do you mean. I'm too late new. You have to read this you want like. I wanted them to be in their chairs. Being linking I share a little combs. Aw you down letter you use excited me. Activist succeeded in making great war film. Because you show the humanity of war and even the pointlessness of of fighting for those few inches and it's coming at a very strange time in our country's history when the sabres are being rattled again for absolutely no reason whatsoever so ever been the take is off the impeachment hearings trials. That are our future. And it's it's very sad so government are real. Dick's yeah especially the government writes plea. Who's got it worse because we both some problems over the Iran but like we will eventually because we always throw in? I'm with you guys. We're we're happy to have you but hopefully somebody wakes up behind the steering wheel and stops it. I'm curious just out of curiosity. What is hanging in the bags dogs but the rats are going for? was that damage. They used to have to keep their foods and fact rats were so bad no-man's-land like and in the trenches to hang their cheers cheers up because when they would quote the rats eat through the cheer. Lakes wow yeah the rice. There's a great quote in one of the the M diaries. I rue and it was like the rats have become saw so accustomed to the dead. They no longer fear the loving like they would just be there Eaton's audience all night and then they would come in and be like. Oh you move. You think I'm afraid to you. You know I'M GONNA we're talking about you know cumberbatch a second ago a lot of roles come and go and you. You don't want them to take the focus away but at the same meantime they need to be functional. They need to be their own people. Not just like a you know a cookie cutter of other military personnel. What was the challenge for that? 'cause you have some good actors early roll through the film and you know in Lesser Hands. It might have been roads but you you in Santa Fantastic job. I'll take credit for that. These were just you know I think I I may have had something to do with that. The you want people that have enough gravitas that you genuinely feel the sense that the our generals see want someone and the reason the reason the coal and Benedict and Richard Madden Andrew. Score are saw often over there in our stars because they're actually really bloody brilliant actors and they can bring so much through you want someone that's going to come in and give you a complete boxer because also on the page these are just white guys White Guy Kernels do you know what I mean. It's easy for them to sewn. This even be the same and we went to create pains to make sure that each of the generals had a different feeling a different flavor about them and and sometimes the different accents as well. You know a whole bunch of accents that war your mind and you're also showing the class struggle the soldiers in the truck and what they feel about their commanding officers but what was really interesting. Is You set up all these rules for the movie. And then you pull the carpet out from under US when Scofield shot. Yeah and when. Did you guys realize you were going to do that because I thought it was a fantastic moment you were always going to. We always had to plan that you give people the rules of the world you give them a sense of reality. T. and then you fuck with them. I am well no because it was really important by this stage in the film. I think if we hadn't have done that you would feel a sense of safety. You would think thank the Scofield's GonNa make it and it was really important that you don't know if he's going to make that's why you were going to set through to the end. I wanted you think he he really might not make it and you know when he gets show. It comes enough in the foam that you could plausibly. Believe that we did kill him. I am and then also when he wakes up the rules of the world of changed the the camera. The camera moves and everything is changes is very subtle but I mean when the camera leaves him to go through the window which is the first. We've really left him since speak staff breath and everything that happens off to that I think is pure cinema. I am it's it's sewn design. Is Editing Cinematography. It's is lighting design is acting all working to tell you a characters enter feelings without him vocalizing them and that to me is what cinema should be when you get absolutely great. He don't need the dialogue right. And you mirrored it on the page. It's not often that I ever read writers a description from a script but you said to me in the article and I thought it was really great. You said that when he wakes up you wrote in the script the land shifts and shadows fly under him as a way on the page to really signify that the world has changed. Obviously time has changed as well. Yeah but just as he's waking up and he's trying to become acquainted with this world not the eraserhead baby but the baby is thrown. And we're when did you get the idea that you were gonNA kind of. Take a moment for him to recuperate. Or the the big. The big in the big finale am well again. The heart rate monitor we needed. We needed something that allows you to stop for a minute and then I always wanted to put a woman in the film because I think yes. This war was fought by men yes. Millions of men entire generation of indict. But women were profoundly affected by it as well you know. Women were left in the ruins and the remains of this war and had to rebuild L. D. reality. There's a famous coop Britain who taste of youth. WHO said every boy I'd ever danced with with state in one thousand nine hundred and every boy she knew had dined her brother her friends everyone was lost her? And all of those ruins. You have kind of like these women just left just abundant. There's a whole kind of generation nation of women that don't get married have children that don't because there's not enough men there and to me. That was really fascinating because at that time that was almost a women's purpose you had no other life say that I am and so I always wanted to a female voice in there for you to just have a moment again is a window. You know it's a small kind of birds are warms. I view in the war. You can't have fifty women you can't have one hundred and you can't have a new all these men dying. You only have everything in a very small skill. And I wanted this woman to be lost in in there and to be left in the end for school to physically have to leave her in there knowing that she's in mortal payroll. I am was really important to me. I just feel like it was true to reality and add to get in there and then during my research I actually. I went to the Imperial War Museum in London and they did this. Incredible thing in the seventies had veterans of the First World War record their stories in their own voices and so I went and I listened to this man the soldier who would have been seventeen at the time of the war talk about a retreat in nineteen fourteen and he during this retreat store milk and he was a performer and he was rocked with the guilt of this like a a mop inside. He's like he couldn't believe that he'd stolen from this pure fringe family family. Who probably had nothing? He Republican Starve and the Germans were coming and he carried this milk with him for a day and a half and then he phoned himself jingle bombardment and a sailor. You're and there was a baby in there with no mother with no name. Just this one woman in this baby and the baby was GonNa Starve to death of it. Didn't get milk and he was like I have milk and for the guy and he's weeping as he talks but even those you know forty years later he's invested. He was for the first time in the war. I felt like I was there for the reason that I had a purpose that I wasn't just cannon fodder and to me. It was such a profound moment after I I was like well. That's good in the script and remember tune it to Sam and he was in the script. What's so interesting because because I was Gonna ask you about that? It's almost like the icing on the cake. In a way once you're screenplays screenplays done once you have the pages you could go back and drop in these little bits of setup and payoff because because not only was you know they find the milk earlier and then they they use later. They didn't steal it like this and it was fascinating that you know. It wasn't the woman's child and also she was just a woman she wasn't a nurse soldier. Somebody in the army. That was cool. But then when you're doing that throughout in which only because Scofield gave her all of his supplies probably not drown a scene later when he jumped into the river goes like he had laid it all out for one of the things..