Turning words into action
Did Gravity spring from your original idea?
I came to my dad years ago with another script that is on very similar lines, a man-on-man chase through the desert. It’s only two characters and you’re gripped to your seat through the whole narrative. My dad said he wanted to do something with the same rollercoaster pace and emotional catharsis. We both love space exploration so we set Gravity there.
How did you collaborate on the script?
Basically, we just got together every morning and wrote. Because I’d written this other script, he knew he wanted that drive and pacing; and I understood what he wanted.
Were the set-pieces filmed as written?
It’s all in the script. Because that’s where the tension comes from, we had to be very specific about what those moments were. When I was writing it, there was always that concern that it might not work.
How did you get into screenwriting?
I majored in studio art and I made a film using still photographs in the style of La Jetée for my thesis. How do you make an 80-minute movie with still photographs where the audience doesn’t get bored? What saved me was the script. I realised that a good script and good story can make up for the lack of movement. I also realised that I really enjoyed writing scripts and, from that, one thing has led to another.
It’s unusual, a father-son scriptwriting team.
I have a strong memory of being in the car with my dad and he would pitch me the story he was developing at that time. Writing with him is just a continuation of those road trips.