By the skin of my teeth I'm sticking to the monthly update pattern that has unofficially been established by this no doubt gripping and widely read series on my exploits as a film maker. In fact, here in London there are mere minutes til it's February – so I'd best keep a long story short.
In brief, shortly before Christmas, I decided that the short film I was planning to make was not enthusing me enough to make me want to pour my every last drop of energy into it. As anyone who has made a short film will know, this is just what is required in order to see the whole process through, so that left me feeling slightly lost and disheartened as I chewed upon my turkey.
Then, thankfully, I had an idea, on a plane of all places, and found it taking script form far more quickly than is usual. I wrote one of the lead roles for a friend of mine, James Norton, who had been due to take a role in the previously planned short. Since then he has been cast in Ron Howard's new film Rush, and I am praying he doesn't get cast in anything else and whisked off to Hollywood – but that notwithstanding, it is all good news for us.
For the other lead role, I made a random approach over the internet to a Greek actress called Michele Valley, who is best known for her role as the mother in Dogtooth – surely one of the most uncompromising films to be nominated for an Oscar in recent years. She responded to my approach – and the script – with the kind of zany and fiery enthusiasm that made the convoluted and unplanned series of events that led to our meeting feel miraculously fated.
That's the happy news. The production itself – which is going to have to take place in just four weeks, due to the actors' schedules – is another beast entirely. I promise to detail every pitfall and wrong turn here – but let me at least try and keep the interested parties one step ahead first.
For now, let me only reaffirm the cliche that casting actors breathes life into a project like nothing else can. I have gone on for years about the need to bring the stories of women over 40 to the screen – now that is my challenge.