Thursday, May 31, 2007

Extracts from Richard E Grant's book The Wah-Wah Diaries and Martin Scorsese's film The Departed

Two different Hamlet sightings in as many days. I have of late been reading Richard E Grant's The Wah-Wah Diaries in which he describes the hair pulling exercise of making his directorial debut. On the 23 April 2004 he says:
23 April 2004

Read Hamlet - a man caught betwixt and between if ever there was one. His penultimate thoughts fir perfectly:
If it be now, 'tis not to come;
If it be not now, yet it will come; the readiness is all.
Since no man knows aught of what he leaves,
What is't to leave betimes?
Let be.
5.30pm call from Marie-Catille. The film is fully financed and start shooting on 7 June! Levitated.
This is during a moment when the film could go either way. Marie-Catille is his producers and she's been something of a nightmare to deal with and because they're not really communicating the project could collapse at any minute. But I think he sense there's an inevitability that something will happen and that its beyond his control.

Then today, watching Martin Scorsese's The Departed I noticed this during a sting operations:

COLIN turns away from the activity.

Oh, my friends are still coming.

COLIN sees QUEENAN staring at him.

We'll just say lunch tomorrow. All right, bye.

COLIN ends the call. QUEENAN is there.

The readiness is all. You know the players, call the game.

Thank you, Captain.

He gives him the clipboard, Colin goes to the work area.
I'm not sure that the sense is thematically keyed into the scene -- but it is part of a screenplay that's replete with Shakespearean allusions both in the dialogue in the whole sense of the story. Without hopefully spoiling anything it seems to run the flip side of a problem play -- instead of slipping from tragedy to comedy, the film flows inextricably the other way.

1 comment:

mobydoug said...

You mention that Scorsese directed The Departed, but Bill Monahan, who received the screenwriting Oscar for best adaptation that year, was likely the man who stuck in the quote from the Bard. Monahan says: "I wanted to be an old-fashioned man of letters, so I essentially prepared myself very carefully through my 20s for a job that doesn't exist anymore; You may be able to find a man of letters in Syria or the Horn of Africa, but you could work Manhattan or London with dogs for a year and never find one. Anthony Burgess is dead, Vidal is the last lion, and at any rate belles-lettres aren't where they were left. Anyway, I'm making movies now. Just before all this happened, I thought, 'Out of everything you can do or think you can do, pick one thing and be it.' What I picked was to be the screenwriter."