Adam Blampied Is Inspired by Loneliness and Despair
And it seems to have paid off, because he just won Intel's competition for young scriptwriters.
The trailer for Eugene
Movies are pretty cool, right? I've got about 200 of them at home but I still want more. For a long time, though, I've always dreamed about becoming a scriptwriter and having my magnum opus pieced together in visual form for the world to imbibe and then praise me unconditionally for. Unfortunately, I'm a lowly writer with terrible self-discipline, so I reckon it'll be a while before I get a chance to sit at home penning my life's works.
For some people though, scriptwriting is a way of life. Intel recently launched their "Four Seasons" story campaign. The campaign, launched in partnership with W Hotels, invited the world's most promising filmmakers to submit their work for the chance to see their idea brought to life on the big screen. Curated by Roman Coppola and The Directors' Bureau, the UK winner was London Acadamy of Musical Dance and Artists student, Adam Blampied. His piece, titled Eugene, follows the story of a business traveller who has received an Ultrabook that makes everything he types real. Oh, and it's also directed by Spencer Susser, the dude behind the Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Natalie Portman production Hesher. I spoke to Adam to find out more about his short.
VICE: I’ve just watched the film and it’s great. Where did the idea come from?
Adam: The idea for the original script that Eugene is based on – Godfont – came from me failing miserably to write up another idea for the competition. I found myself staring at my computer wishing I could just type "write script" and have it finish the job for me. This got me thinking of what else I'd type into a computer if I thought it'd come true, and it tickled me to think that I'd probably type "make me a sandwich" before "make world peace a thing". Out of that came the central idea; the powers of a God in the hands of a schlub.
A still from Eugene
What’s the meaning behind the film?
"Be Careful What You Wish For" seems the obvious choice, but in both drafts of the film the deeper meaning that shines through, for me at least, is that people are chaos, and however much control you have over the world around you, it'll come unglued if you try to control people. Summoning a woman to his hotel room like a Guinness Book of Records or any of his other toys and not expecting fallout is why Eugene gets what's coming to him.
What were your inspirations?
For this script, Futurama and Doctor Who. If I ever wrote for either of them in my life it would be a dream come true. Both shows handle huge sci-fi conceits and concepts week after week, but what makes the shows moving and memorable are the characters and the decidedly modern relationships they have. Following them, I wanted to write a short where a potentially huge cosmic power is at play, but what really draws you into the piece is the everyday loneliness and despair of the human characters.
How long did it take you to write the screenplay?
It took me about five days. I would've liked longer but I'd scrapped the first idea and I only had about five days left before the deadline closed.
I’ve always wanted a computer that could give me whatever I want just by typing a request. Do you think this could be the future?
I hope so. After putting everybody else out of business, it'd be nice for Amazon.com to feel the squeeze for once.
Spencer Susser is pretty cool. Hesher is one of my favourite films of the last few years. How’d you get him involved as director?
I think this is right: The Director's Bureau approached him and asked him to direct for the competition. He was then shown the 12 finalist's scripts and asked which of them he was interested in and he chose mine.
A still from Eugene
How was it when you found out you'd won?
It was about midnight when I got the email through saying I'd won. I swore loudly enough to wake my flatmate – you're welcome, Rob – and then set about phoning (and also waking up) all of my immediate family. It's been a fantastic opportunity, the feeling of excitement hasn't really dimmed since I first woke up Rob with a piercing F-bomb.
Is this your first script that has been put into production or are there others?
The first on this scale, but I've made a few short films at drama school that came from a script of mine, and my flatmate and I have scripted and made a couple of shorts together, so I've seen the work travel from page to screen before. It's that trial and error in scripting that contributed a lot to this script being more successful, I think.
Roman Coppola is one of highest critically acclaimed directors and he curated the project. How does it feel to be working on something that he was involved in?
It's an honour. Moonrise Kingdom was and still is one of the funniest films of the year, so to have my script chosen by a writer whose work I respect as much as that is a wonderful experience.
What are your favourite films?
Shawshank Redemption, The Big Lebowski (everything by the Coens, really), Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Drive, Die Hard, Speed, Serenity, Goodfellas, Back to the Future, Empire Strikes Back, Pulp Fiction. It goes on forever.
Best film of 2012?
Skyfall's a damn close second, but it has to be The Avengers, just because it gave me the single best cinema-going experience of the year. Very rarely in Britain does an entire cinema actually applaud a movie but that's what happened over and over again throughout the last hour of The Avengers, and as a dyed-in-the-wool comics geek, watching a very risky movie about characters I love come together among whoops, cheers and applause was joyous.
Best actor/actress of 2012?
Toss-up between Ryan Gosling and Tom Hardy. Both men are the most magnetic screen actors since Brando.
What do you think about cinema and directors like Larry Clark releasing his new film solely online, as opposed to in theatre or DVD?
I imagine it'd be easier and more tempting to pirate than a film that gives you the option of seeing it in the cinema. It's cool to see directors try out new strategies considering the dominance of the internet, but I much prefer watching films in the cinema than on my laptop, so I hope it doesn't catch on.
Are you working on anything new at the moment?
A short film about a zombie family, a few short stories and the next Edinburgh Fringe show for my sketch group, The Beta Males.
Sounds great. Thanks, Adam.
Check out the rest of the films from the Four Seasons campaign as part of Intel's Ultrabook Experience here.