Oct 28, 2013

    My love life's in the script

    After years of working on short films, American director David Lowery has finally done his first feature film, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, a drama about an escaped convict (Casey Affleck) who is determined to reunite with his wife (Rooney Mara).

    Here are interview excerpts from Golden Village, where Lowery spoke about how his love life affected the script.

    The film has a timeless feel. It is set in the 1970s but, at times, feels almost as if it's the 20s or 30s. Was that intentional?

    It was absolutely intentional. When we were making the decision about when the movie takes place, we said, "it's the 1970s".

    But if you go to a small town in Texas or the South, it hasn't really changed much since the 1930s. We felt that would work for this film, and the more timeless it felt, the more universal the story would become.

    You said that the story changed because you were falling in love when you wrote it.

    I met my future wife in the year I started writing (the script), which was 2009.

    I put it away for a while and when I came back to it, we became engaged. And as I was starting to scout for locations, we got married. All of the responsibility that comes along with deciding to get married and join up with someone for the rest of your life filtered into the script.

    That was something that definitely played into the film, and it became more of a love story than I had originally intended it to be.

    You say you have trouble expressing yourself, but you are clearly articulate in your writing.

    If I could go through life only writing notes to people, that would be great (laughs).

    When my wife and I first dated, we broke up and then, a few years later, we reconnected through e-mail and we spent an entire year just writing e-mail to each other. Finally, we realised that things were working out again - entirely through writing.

    And that played into the letters that feature in the movie; the letters are a motif all the way through the film.

    Pulp Fiction (1994) had a big impact on you when you were a kid. How so?

    When I was 13, Pulp Fiction came out. I bought a ticket for another movie because I knew I wasn't supposed to (watch) an R-rated movie.

    I snuck in and watched it, and it blew my mind. I had never seen a film like that before, and it opened my eyes to what cinema could do and how to use film in a new way.

    After I'd seen the movie, I wrote a script. It was a terrible script, about 30 pages long, and it was a complete rip-off of Pulp Fiction. I sent it to A Band Apart (director Quentin Tarantino's production company) and asked if they would produce it, and I got a letter back, saying: "No, we don't produce unsolicited scripts, but thank you very much and good luck."

    Ain't Them Bodies Saints is showing in cinemas now.