Grisoni Talks About Festival Treble
Screenwriter Tony Grisoni waxes lyrical about his EIFF treble bill of the magical Lives of the Saints, the superb genre-spanning Brothers of the Head and his exclusive Script Factory event. In the cou...
Screenwriter Tony Grisoni waxes lyrical about his EIFF treble bill of the magical Lives of the Saints, the superb genre-spanning Brothers of the Head and his exclusive Script Factory event.
In the course of a writing career spanning three decades, Tony Grisoni has penned scripts for renowned directors such as Terry Gilliam (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and Michael Winterbottom (In This World) yet remains resoloutely dedicated to the British film industry.
Grisoni has resisted the lure of Hollywood and his decision to stay in Britain has paid dividends creatively and critically. “I’m getting fantastic challenges and really exciting chances to destroy the notion of genre film. I’m having fun,” he tells me.
It’s an ethos that’s visible in the excellent Lives of the Saints, the tale of an eclectic collection of Londoners whose lives are turned upside-down by the discovery of a boy who seems to have mystical powers. It doesn’t conform to a single genre, instead melding them to great effect.
He originally conceived the idea some 15 years ago while living in a locale similar to that of the film. “I really loved this little microcosm of London and wanted to do something that somehow plundered or captured that area and the people.” Inspiration came from Italian renaissance paintings depicting miracles. “The people in these miraculous events were in contemporary dress and the faces were those who lived around the artist,” he recalls. The resultant piece of magical realism is one of the highlights of this year’s British Gala programme.
Grisoni also scripted fellow festival film Brothers of the Head, a terrifically entertaining adaptation of Brian Aldiss’ 1977 novella about conjoined twins who form a rock band. Like Aldiss, he uses an unusual narrative structure to tell the story. “I was looking for a cinematic equivalent,” he tells me. “It seemed the most direct way would be to use documentary technique …cutting in found footage, newsreel and dramatised footage.”
Having secured the rights to adapt the book back in 1980, his unique vision for the material was finally realised by co-directors Keith Fulton and Louise Pepe. Grisoni loved working with the pair, both as writer and executive producer. “They’ve got double the energy, double the ideas,” he reveals. “Filmmaking is a social act and you’re only as good as the people you’re working with.”
This being the case, any director working with Tony Grisoni has the basis for a great movie. Those lucky enough to witness him in person at the Script Factory event will be struck by his boundless energy, passion for film and humour. If you get the chance, ask about his idea for a feature based on a talking mongoose. Like the man himself, it’s unique and extremely entertaining.
Take advantage of our fantastic Tony Grisoni ticket deals. Buy one ticket for Lives of the Saints and get one free. Alternatively, buy tickets to two of the following three events: Lives of the Saints, Brothers of the Head or Script Factory: Tony Grisoni and get the third event in the package for free. Offers only available offline until 14th August.
This Is Edinburgh, in partnership with EIFF, invites locals of all ages to free outdoor cinema screenings in the Grassmarket and St Andrew Square.