Friday, May 28, 2004

Karey Kirkpatrick, h2g2's screenwriter, interviews himself on the official movie blog

At last. We all wanted more informations about Karey's work. Karey's been hired by the director Jay Roach in september 2002 to rewrite the draft Douglas has just finished before he died.
It's a quite fascinating self interview. But, to tell the truth, I have been quite annoyed to read that he decided to interview himself because "noone has asked to interview (him)". I try to get an interview with him for now around eight months!! Damn guy!

Karey decided to choose humour for this interview. In the first questions, he dreams up a very wrathful fan who asks him harsh questions. And we learn that if he was "an avid Monty Python fan", he "had never read the book or any Douglas Adams before I was told this assignment". After reading Douglas' script, his first reaction was "I cant write this, this guy's a genius and I'm no genius". But, after meeting Jay, he decided to say ok. "I mean, how can you not get excited talking about poetry as torture or nuclear missiles that turn into a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias? Assignments like this dont come every day. Actually they never come along".

To familiarize with the material, he then started with the radio play and then the book "with pen and highlighter in hand". So "When I started writing, I had the novel on one side of my G4 laptop and the radio play scripts on the other side".

Robbie Stamp, co-producer of the movie and close friend of Douglas, "became an integral ally in my writing process of this film". He sent Karey "electronic copies of HHGG files from Douglas' hard drive, notes on his drafts, notes from him to the studio, random ideas and bits of dialogue exchanges....". He was also eager to know more about the man. So he read biographies, articles and seen Joel Greengrass' documentary.

He wanted his implication to be subtle : "My goal in the writing was to be like an editor on a feature film. If an editor has done his job well, you dont feel his or her presence.... Naturally there were holes (in Douglas' script) that needed to be filled so some new material and dialogue was required. But I was always going to the source material to find the right voice and tone."

Finally "I have never enjoyed writing a script more. And it is all because I had such amazing source material (and collaborators)... I started knowing little about this wholly remarkable book and have become a devoted fan".

Of course, Karey speaks also about Hammer & Tongs (some "incridble visual thinkers") and the three drafts he made (in the first one, too long, he mainly cut some narrator parts, and he tried to pay "a certain amount of attention to character, character relantionships and emotions").

Read the whole interview here

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