Cat's officially out of the bag. Wasn't sure what kind of time delay there was going to be on developments with director Julian Grant's feature adaptation of my short story A Fuckload of Scotch Tape, after meeting with him last week, but apparently it's somewhere around zilch. Since he talked about it openly in an interview with ReelChicago.com (at the end of this article) I guess I can go ahead and do it too. Specifically, what I was holding back on revealing was a certain detail regarding his vision for the film - namely that it's a... musical.
You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.
Julian showed me a screen test of an actor he's considering for the lead lip-syncing along to a Tom Waits-ish balladeer (Kevin Quain - whose Tequila Vampire Matinee is now something I gotta experience) and talked to me about a pivotal scene featuring our protagonist enduring some really awful shit at the hands of a former friend whilst crooning in his subconscious ala Dennis Potter (The Singing Detective, Pennies From Heaven). The juxtaposition of the dark-midnight-black material and the music is going to be pretty fucked up. I'm excited as hell to see it.
Those of you (rather, both of you) who've read Fuckload and some of my other short stories may note that Scotch Tape is really only one side of a story and is complimented by another titled Mahogany & Monogamy (Blood, Guts & Whiskey) and Julian will be borrowing some story and a couple of characters from that one as well.
Julian first approached me two years ago after Scotch Tape appeared in Out of the Gutter and I looked him up on IMDb. Dude was a working professional definitely. Something like twenty titles to his name and some of it was stuff I'd heard of (remember that RoboCop miniseries Prime Directives a few years ago?), but the rest was dominated by the kind of gun-for-hire stuff that can muddy a filmmaker's identity, make it difficult to recognize a voice. No shame in making that kind of a living, but I couldn't figure out why he was interested in this story. Flattered. But surprised. So I asked him for a recommendation, something of his that I should watch that would really clue me in to his identity as a filmmaker. A few days later I received a disk of short films in the mail.
I was on board.
The films Maidenhead and Screw the Pepperoni (both adapted from stories that also appeared in Out of the Gutter by Matt Wallace and Charles Gardener respectively) were ultra-low budget crime shorts as different in feel as you could ask, and Argyle Street was something else all together. Both managed to create a recognizable and immersive universe in just a few short minutes and both demonstrated chops, vision and that tell-tale knack of turning budgetary or time limitations into virtues that marks the most exciting auteur.
The thought of Julian working with my material? Film boner.
I called him up - count me in. I had to ask - are Shannon Tweed or Jeff Wincott or Steve Guttenberg going to be in this film? Probably not. Turns out, he had reached the end of his gun-for-hire era and was determined to make some personal passion films. So he took a teaching job at Columbia in Chicago and has commenced to cranking out the punk DIY spirit indie films that he loves. His no-dialogue zombie pic The Defiled should be available in the spring and his Rashomon by way of Sunset Boulevard drama Fall Away will be making the festival circuit shortly.
Shooting is supposed to begin in August and a cut of the film ready to submit to film festivals by January or February 2012. Check out Julian's site for updates and I'll keep you informed.