Martin Scorcese's film adaptation of Boston crime writer Dennish Lehane's SHUTTER ISLAND has been getting some pretty great reviews, both here in New Zealand, and overseas. In fact, earlier this week it was sitting pretty at #1 at the US Box Office, and has already grossed over $75 million in a short space of time (pretty good for what isn't really a 'big budget' special effects type movie).
But while, unsurprisingly and understandably, most of the focus has been on Scorcese (and Leonardo DiCaprio), another person who played a key role in creating the eerie and moody atmosphere and tone of the film was of course the screenwriter - Laeta Kalogridis - the person who took Lehane's story and turned it into an exciting and interesting screenply. The person who, along with Scorcese, played the biggest role in, as some have put it, recapturing the "tone and mood of some of those great suspense and horror movies of the late '40s and early '50s".
Kalogridis has been beavering away in Hollywood since she sold her first screenplay (an epic about Joan of Arc) while still at UCLA Film School, back in 1993 (the film, like many, wasn't made). However, recently things have really come together for the 44-year old - she worked with James Cameron on Avatar, and Scorcese on Shutter Island, and now of course she has many more projects on the go.
Horror website Shock Till You Drop has recently published a fascinating and reasonably lengthy interview with Kalogridis, talking about her work on Shutter Island, liaising with Lehane and Scorcese, and thoughts on some of her other projects. It's a good read.
For instance, when asked why she thinks Lehane has had some pretty quick success, getting three of his novels made into major motion pictures with A-List stars and name directors, Kalogridis says, "I think it's kind of this weird alchemical reaction that his work has frankly, on writers as well as directors, maybe on writers first. I had read all of the Patrick Kensey novels, the hero of Gone Baby Gone, and I had really enjoyed them. But it would never have occurred to me... they weren't the sorts of stories I personally would want to make into a movie. Interestingly, and Mystic River, again, just a brilliant novel, very atmospheric, very rich and textured which I think is why again it would speak to writers and actors and directors who would want to kind of marry quite a moving and a really good cinematic plot with extremely textured characters. Normally, you'll sort of get one or the other in novels or in screenplays – finding the two together and adding that to a really phenomenal atmosphere and a sense of place, which he always has, it's an unusual thing."
You can read the full interview here.
SHUTTER ISLAND is the third Lehane novel to be brought to the big screen, following acclaimed adaptations of MYSTIC RIVER and GONE BABY GONE. You can watch the trailer HERE. I will definitely be heading along to the movie theatre to see this for myself sometime soon.