CHAPTER 3: Again my apologies that we haven’t arrived in London yet, but this last little tale about my early efforts to break into writing leads up to my departure from Australian shores. So there I was, stuck with a script called The Steel Prince and no idea what to do with it. There was certainly no way I could get Film Victoria interested in it. I had met with someone at their offices a few years earlier after I sent them the first script I had ever written: a horror story called “The Inheritance” which was a cross between Dirty Harry and The Exorcist; after reading it, the woman I met with at FilmVic told me “you certainly know how to structure a screenplay” but went on to assure me that they did not make films like that in Australia so I would be better off going to Hollywood. Hah! I was around eighteen-years-old at the time so Hollywood might as well have been Mars as far as I was concerned. The upshot was though, that if they hadn’t wanted to make a movie like The Inheritance, then they certainly weren’t going to make The Steel Prince. But I had not a clue on how I’d ever get a script to someone in Hollywood so it would be gathering some dust. Around this time (I guess it was about a year before my eventual conversation with David Tomblin and my departure for London) I was reading a book on the making of “Return of the Jedi” and found some things that the film’s director, Richard Marquand, had to say very encouraging. One thing in particular was how his agent mentioned George Lucas was looking for someone to direct Jedi and suggested they throw Marquand’s name into the mix. Marquand scoffed at the idea and thought there was no way Lucas would even consider a small-time English director who had done no big movies. His agent insisted, however, and it turned out that Lucas was a fan of one of Marquand’s earlier films “Eye of the Needle” and agreed to meet him. Long story short, he got the job and wound up directing Jedi. That story made me think he might just be able to relate to my hopelessness of ever getting a script to a Hollywood agent and therefore he might be willing to help me. Again, I turned to my letter writing skills. I found out that he was editing a movie in France and sent the letter to him there, telling him about myself and The Steel Prince. Lo and behold I got a letter back from him telling me he would be happy to read my script. I sent it to the cutting room he was working in in Paris, and over the next several months, I exchanged letters with Richard Marquand (I still have them in my files at home in Melbourne) as he helped me develop The Steel Prince through two more drafts. After that he sent it to his agent at Creative Artists Agency (who I think at the time was Rosalie Swedlin) to see if he could help me get some representation. Nothing ever materialized from that but Marquand was a true gentleman for all his help and tolerance. Next chapter: London (for real this time) and a further adventure with Richard Marquand).
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