Five years later

It turned out Wakefield (the movie we had nothing to do about) was no big deal. I mean, no offense intended for any filmmaker involved, I’m talking about The Wakefield Variation: yes, the source material is (almost) the same, and yes it sort of upset me.

I haven’t read the updated short story by E L Doctorow the film claims to be based on, but the narration is linear and ends exactly as Hawthorne’s original story does. That is, without an ending. Which was our premise to the series.

The film relies entirely on Bryan Cranston’s performance, with almost the whole story told in voice over, often breaking the fourth wall, something that also goes back to Hawthorne’s novella.

The story chooses to be all about Wakefield and doesn’t make much of the other characters, and the overall tone felt like an adult, dark-ish comedy with some hint of drama. So the atmosphere is pretty far from my idea for the (mini)series. Also, not exploring much beyond the original story, it is leaving us space to do so. At least I think it does.

Did it take me four months to elaborate such thoughts? Not really, as I came up with this five seconds after the lights went back on at the Princess of Wales Theatre during the TIFF premiere. And the above is actually part of an email I sent to a few friends and colleagues after the screening.

So what’s the point? Five years ago today I set up this blog and against all adversities I’m still here, discussing The Wakefield Variation. A vaguely similar movie will not stop me… after all, it is what the film industry is all about.

Geneviève Bujold and Cliff Robertson in the opening credits of Brian De Palma's Obsession (hint hint...)

Geneviève Bujold and Cliff Robertson in the opening credits of Brian De Palma’s Obsession (hint hint…)

So, as 2017 will see my effort focus on moving more or less permanently to Toronto, I’ll also do my best to make something as big happen for The Wakefield Variation.

Happy New Year to all of our the loyal followers 😉

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Maple Syrup

I apologize for the stereotype in the title. But not only is this a symbol of my Canadian days – I’ve been staying in Toronto for over three months now – it is also a fine metaphor for the taste left in my [mediterranean-taste-adjusted] mouth after the news: They made a movie about Wakefield. And we had nothing to do with it.

As you can see by the lack of posts, nothing terribly important really happened in the last six months, in regards to The Wakefield Variation.

Something happened to me though, as I decided to take the opportunity to experience Canada on a working holiday visa. Pushed to find work and network with fellow filmmakers in an all-new and still competitive setting, I didn’t forget about our beloved project. After all, Canada has always been a big part of the deal, being the home country of the lead actors and of Toronto-based story editor Jonathan Robbins (who I met again in person 4 years after Marseille! Yay!).

So, long story short: in the time that I have been here in Toronto, I have met some very talented filmmakers (all tied with MAD Resilience Films: thanks Mark!) and while talking about our respective projects, Wakefield comes up. Cards and links are exchanged, and plans of injecting new life into our dormant series are discussed! It looked like all that miniseries (re)development material was going to be taken out of the virtual drawer…

wakefield_01

…not just yet. I was browsing the catalogue of the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival, until Bryan Cranston with a beard appears. TIFF will screen the international premiere of Wakefield, directed by Robin Swicord and based on the short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne E. L. Doctorow. The late Doctorow retooled the original, public domain short story into an updated piece, published by The New Yorker in 2008. And no, we didn’t know about this.

So, I don’t know if this will affect the future of The Wakefield Variation. If it will, I hope it’s in a positive way. Somehow this is a perfect follow-up to the previous post: the nice thing is that it proves we might have had a good idea, using Wakefield as source material/inspiration. Needless to say, I’m utterly curious to see this movie. No matter what is actually in it, I’m pretty sure I’ll have a bittersweet feeling. After years of thinking of all of this as a solitary run… we’ve been overtaken.

Although… the race isn’t over yet 🙂