Most of the books and films I love walk a knife edge between romance and cynicism, and I wanted 'One Day' to stay on that line. I wanted it to be moving, but without being manipulative.
I know that for every reader who has lost the habit or can't find the time, there are people who've never enjoyed reading and question the value of literature, either as entertainment or education, or believe that a love of books, and of fiction in particular, is sentimental or frivolous.
Screenwriting is always about what people say or do, whereas good writing is about a thought process or an abstract image or an internal monologue, none of which works on screen.
I worry sometimes that I'm a bit moralistic; always writing about men who are learning to grow up, not be so self-absorbed, selfish or badly behaved. I wonder if that's dull and liberal and wimpy? I should probably write something that celebrates wickedness.
Fear and anxiety are great motivators for me.
I work three days at home, and two days in the British Library or the London Library, just to get out of the house and hide from the children.
A screenplay is really an instruction manual, and it can be interpreted in any number of ways. The casting, the choice of location, the costumes and make-up, the actors' reading of a line or emphasis of a word, the choice of lens and the pace of the cutting - these are all part of the translation.
I read a lot of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I love 'Tender is the Night,' and its atmosphere of doomed romance. He was one of the greatest prose stylists, with a wonderfully clear but lyrical quality.
I love Billy Wilder, and I love the way that his films can be very touching and very moving and very romantic, and at the same time there's always a little cynical undertone, there's always something that undercuts things.
I still find it absurdly difficult to concentrate on a novel if there's a phone or computer to hand; I have taken to locking them outside the room like noisy pets.
I think I became a writer because I used to write letters to my friends, and I used to love writing them. I loved the idea that you can put marks on a page and send it off, and two days later, someone laughs somewhere else in the world.
I usually write on a computer - unless I get stuck, at which point I switch to write by hand. I think that's common among writers if they get cornered on something.
My 20s was a sea of worry. I worried about benefit forms, about being thrown out of my flat. I never went on holiday because I thought: 'What if an audition comes up?' I was a nervous wreck.
There's no shortage of orphans in 19th-century literature, but it's hard to find a single happy, communicative, functional parental relationship in the whole of 'Great Expectations,' even among the minor characters.
This might sound really foolish, but when I came to Edinburgh in 1988 I had spent nearly all my life living south of Bristol, and I was just amazed that a city like Edinburgh was actually in the British isles.
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