Sunday, 24 February 2013

Films That Influence Me #2: THE KID

I was having a conversation recently with a friend I hadn't seen in awhile. I was telling him about William's Lullaby and how long of a process it has been and how eager and excited we are to finish. I had mentioned to him how I had started writing the first draft of the script, then called Ducklings and Swans, when I was 17. He was confused by this. "It was different when you wrote it, right?" he asked. I explained to him that the crux of the story, the majority of it and especially the last 10 pages have stayed the same over the last five years. Again this baffled him. "When I was writing scripts at 17 they were about not knowing what to do after high school or the girl I had a crush on," he explained. He couldn't figure out where I would draw the inspiration from to write about parenthood and specifically the woes of being a single parent, especially after I further explained to him that my childhood was hardly Dickensian and I had been raised by two loving parents.

While the inspiration for William's Lullaby came from something far deeper than the simple father/son relationship that is portrayed on the surface the idea to bury the thesis in the framework of a father/son relationship came from many cinematic inspirations over the years.

Going back to 1979, there's Kramer vs. Kramer with Dustin Hoffman 

A very emotional film following the struggles of a recently divorced man fighting for the custody of his son.

Road to Perdition with Tom Hanks showed a father/son relationship under strained and tense circumstances...

But one of the classic father/son imageries of cinema for me comes from Mr. Charlie Chaplin himself in, The Kid...

If you are feeling a little nostalgic when it comes to film after a night with The Oscars, lucky for you, Chaplin's entire masterpiece is available on Youtube:

The father/son relationship has been portrayed in films since the very beginning. And I think it's because there is something quite special in that relationship -- a child's desire to be like his father, a father's passion to give his son a better life than his own. William's Lullaby and the films I have listed above all portray fathers who are thrust into single parenthood, sometimes unwillingly and coping with it under heavy circumstances. Whether I wrote this at 17 or 25, single or married, parent or not, I don't think really matters. In William's Lullaby Thomas is written as a man who, although trying to understand his role as a father, really is lost -- and in some ways child-like himself.

There's something incredible about imagining the potential of a child, not yet tainted by the outside world. At a certain point, a parent can no longer protect their child from being hurt, from hurting others or themselves. It's with this idea that William's Lullaby begins.


What are some of your favourite father/son moments in film? Comment below!

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