Sunday, January 4, 2015

Hollywood or Bust?


The year is 2015 and it's nigh time for a sitrep on my dealings in the palm fucking world of the film biz. Way baby, let's go!



January began with an email from my partner in crime, Paul AngunawelaSome history is needed. Angunawela co-wrote and directed Keith Lemon: The Film in 2012. His feature debut had the unfortunate distinction of being a commercial success but a critical flop. Not that the suits at Lionsgate were bothered.  To Hell with the critics: it was a hit! Profits pays salaries and rents. And the bottom line is all that counts in show business, baby (or any other business for that matter).


My first book!

In the middle of putting out and promoting my first book, I've been working with Angunawela on three projects for the screen -- an ultra violent cop thriller, a horror story and a "Spy-Fi" web series. This has been a period of big fun because me and Paul go way back. 15 years ago, he blagged me a £30,000 a year job (+ stock options) at a multimedia publisher (I quit after two weeks). 13 years ago, he adapted the first story wot I wrote for the screen. It got shown on the BBC (twice) but, unfortunately, I was in Bangkok at the time.


Angunawela (right) on the job


Anyway, this is what Old Blagawela had to say for himself... 

Paul Angunawela in suit and tie (far right)

"Hey Al - Happy New Year man. A short I made is fronting the London Short Film Festival. Thought you'd want to know. They used a still from my film as the poster. Maybe put this link on your social media if you like bro. OK be in touch soon. All the best Paul." 


"Toto" will be showing at the ICA CINEMA 1 on Friday 9th January as part of the London Short Film Festival 2015.


The plot of "Toto" (pictured above) is simple. "A coward who thinks he's a lunatic, seeks advice from a lunatic who thinks he's a psychiatrist. If you like avante garde electro, weed tea, dead Japanese girlfriends and 80's American rock legends Toto, then you'll love this black comedy."  The festival kicks off at 9pm on Friday 9th January at ICA CINEMA 1.


Angunawela directing Jalaal Hartley in Toto


Yes, you might have guessed. This hasty blog post of the new year was a plug in part for my old pal's upcoming effort at the London Short Film Festival.  The buzz for "Toto" is good and the humor is supposedly sicker and blacker than anything that was previously depicted in "Keith Lemon: The Film" (oh dear, is that a good thing?)


Angunawela at Keith Lemon premiere in Leicester Sq (Aug 2012)


But this is typical bloody Angunawela. In the middle of working with me, he makes a short film and gets it entered into a festival of note. Then again, that's what I like about Paul.  He isn't one of these media wankers moaning about pre-production woes in the bar area of Shoreditch House. He's out there grafting and making a bob or two. And unlike the vast majority of people who work in the film and TV biz, Angunawela is not an out-and-out twat.  He just wants to make films. Good ones (what, like Keith Lemon? Just saying).      


Lester and Jason Statham on the set of "Blitz". 


Which brings me to the Devil's Man in Hollywood: Elliott Lester the Court Jester. Lester is best known as the director of the Jason Statham vehicle "Blitz." How do I know this reincarnation of Alfred Hitchcock? When Angunawela goes to LA, he always crashes -rent free- at Lester's luxury mansion in the Hollywood Hills. Lester attended the same university as Angunawela and my younger brother (Leeds). He garnered a bit of a rep on his road to a Desmond in Sociology. Lester liked to walk  around the university campus sucker punching male students. He made the mistake of mixing it up with our pal Nick the Gypsy (Business Studies and Public Media) and got KO'd in the process.  


Robert Patrick in "Chop Shop," a six-episode web series about car thieves.


Lester is a proper Brit gone loco in Los Angeles.  He doesn't let people smoke in the house and makes wild boasts about his personal income and status. When I had first arrived in the USA, early in 2013,  smooth talking Lester was keen to recruit me as slave labor (IE unpaid) rewriting the bad guys in his girlyman scripts -- including the recent Paramount web series Chop Shop. The Male Trailing Spouse made his excuses and left.



The year has only just begun and I am waiting on word about a script. My horror movie, based on an old 1958 short story by Charles Beaumont, is on the rounds. Plot: an obnoxious rich man sentences to death anyone in his circle of friends who breaks his unwritten rules.  The first stop is Hammer Films. They did an adaptation of Beaumont's story, The New People,  for their late 1960s horror anthology series "Journey to the Unknown." Angunawela's agent reckons my rape of the story is an improvement on Hammer's 1968 version. Too bloody right it is.    


Until next week...


The Male Trailing Spouse