by Fiona Hunnisett
Nick Powell introduces Lynne Ramsay as one of the greatest living filmmakers and that’s after only four feature films, but those four, of course, include the iconic “We Need To Talk About Kevin” and “You Were Never Really Here”. With her obvious talent and her natural, open manner, Lynne Ramsay is now firmly in my top ten list of filmmaking heroes. Lynne also clearly has a great working relationship with her cinematographer, Tom Townend, who also helped her write “You Were Never Really Here”. The interview with them both provides a fascinating insight into Lynne’s filmmaking process and reveals what it was like to work with acting giants Joaquin Phoenix, Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller. Here are some ‘fun facts’ I learned about Lynne from listening to this talk.
- “You Were Never Really Here” was shot in only twenty-nine days due to Joaquin Phoenix’s limited availability.
- Joaquin Phoenix is apparently both terrifying and inspiring to work with. He refused to do, say or use anything in the script he didn’t believe was right for the character or the story. His instincts proved right every time.
- Lynne wrote the script on spec after a producer sent the book to her. Lynne got in contact with the author, but it wasn’t until she was working on the third draft of the script that they actually got the rights to the book. Also, she wrote the first draft in only four weeks.
- Lynne ended up having to change the whole Final Act of “We Need to Talk About Kevin” because the novella has no ending as such and the one she had initially written didn’t work.
- Lionel Shriver is writing a sequel of her novella based on the film.
- Lynne learned the most about writing and script editing during the writing and filming process of “We Need to Talk About Kevin”.
- Lynne hates flashbacks, even though she’s used them in both “You Were Never Really Here” where she describes the flashbacks as being like fragments of broken glass in the protagonist’s head, and “We Need to Talk About Kevin”, where the flashbacks were necessary to reflect the different timelines in an organic way.
- When Lynne was asked to write a treatment for her first feature, “Ratcatcher”, she didn’t know how to write one, so it ended up being was sixty pages long.
- The main guy at Fox Searchlight wouldn’t make it with her because he couldn’t understand a word she says. (She’s Glaswegian!)
- She still uses the traditional index card system as part of her screenwriting process.
Fiona Hunnisett is a screenwriter represented by WGM Atlantic Talent and Literary Group and a proud Talent Campus 5 alumnus.