I attended my first screening at the Venice Film Festival last night. The Palazzo de Cinema is just that — a beautiful modern edifice with a screening room that is luxurious and vast. A special thank you to Davide, Andrea and Emmanuella for all the help organizing my tickets.
The film I saw was Life During Wartime, the latest Todd Solondz film. It was an amazingly rich experience — like eating tapas and suddenly at the end, you realize you’ve actually been eating a really solid piece of steak. Brilliant and satisfying. It was so interesting to see such an intensely American film in Venice, because the humor was both universal and yet so of it’s time and place. I think that’s what defines a masterpiece.
The main character is Timmy, a nice Jewish boy about to be Bar Mitvahed, whose dream is to have his father back in his life. I won’t spoil it by answering all of The Four Magic Question of Screenwriting but, yes, the fourth question is answered beautifully.
During the screening, I sat very close to Charlotte Rampling, a total idol of mine who looked incredibly youthful and elegantly understated. Is Charlotte Rampling amazing? I would fly to Venice all over again just to see her brief but exquisite appearance. She seems to specialize in adult women dealing with the need for love and sexuality, and I admire her bravery in this film!
Like most writers, I’m constantly thinking how perfect different actors would be playing parts I’ve written. If I could have my dream, Charlotte Rampling would star in a screenplay I wrote called Off Season. The script includes a mature love story, murder, gangsters and a giant storm and she would be just perfect.
As an exercise, visualize who you would pick to play the main character in your own script. Got it? Now, take a moment to consider someone completely “wrong” for the part. How would they treat the role?
You might be surprised to find that by considering a completely different actor for the part, you learn something unexpected about your character’s mannerisms, walk or speech.