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Getting financial backing for Two For the Road


Writing for the movies
Frederic Raphael Writer
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Anyway, I met Peter Churchill. He was very nice. He was a little bit creepy, but then he probably would be, wouldn't he? God knows what he'd seen and all the rest of it. So we stayed at Le Rouret and I wrote this screenplay, which was not right yet, but it was based on a very good premise which they didn't accept because it was a bit bold, and true, because I had heard about this, that there was a situation then, which of course now couldn't possibly apply, in which you could form a company more or less for anything, and you then had special rates of tax and you got lots of expenses. So five rich guys, I heard, in London got together and rented together a kind of superb courtesan, the most beautiful woman they could find, and they instituted a company of which she was, I don't know, the servant or whatever, and they rented a very large apartment in Park Lane where she was kept in good style and it all got paid for by the tax man. I thought that was a pretty good story for a movie, but they didn't think so.

So in the end we worked and worked and worked and worked and worked. I used to go up to London to see – from our house in the country – to see Joe and John, and we used to sit there and talk about this and talk about that and re-cut all of their previous films and did all the things that people in the movies do, and Joe was maddening and not stupid, and John was funny and persistent and tiresome, and I was excited. I was in my early 30s, I was working with bright people. I got quite well paid, and the movies was problem-solving. It was very like writing Latin verses, only better paid. I didn't know much about cameras or anything else, so I would propose various things and John would say, well, how do you do it, dear, how do we do it? And I'd say, well, I don't know, you could just go like that, and then you, if you went through black you would get back to that again, and John would say that might work, yes. He was always very worried John, very worried, and very concerned about himself, and slightly crazed. He used to live in Park Street off Kensington Church Street, and he said that every now and again he open his windows and shouted abuse at his neighbours. I don't quite know why he did that, though one has had neighbours that one would like to do that with I confess.

Born in America in 1931, Frederic Raphael is a writer who moved to England as a boy. He was educated at Charterhouse School and was a Major Scholar in Classics at St John's College, Cambridge. His articles and book reviews appear in a number of newspapers and magazines, including the Los Angeles Times and The Sunday Times. He has published more than twenty novels, the best-known being the semi-autobiographical The Glittering Prizes (1976). In 1965 Raphael won an Oscar for the screenplay for the movie Darling, and two years later received an Oscar nomination for his screenplay for Two for the Road. In 1999, he published Eyes Wide Open, a memoir of his collaboration with the director Stanley Kubrick on the screenplay of Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick's final movie. Raphael lives in France and England and became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1964.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Joe Janni, John Schlesinger

Duration: 2 minutes, 27 seconds

Date story recorded: March 2014

Date story went live: 10 September 2014