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Jonathan Glazer, Scarlett Johansson and Under The Skin - in The Sunday Times

Scarlett Johansson in Under The Skin.

Ryan Gilbey has an excellent article in today's Sunday Times about British filmmaker Jonathan Glazer's movie, inspired by ("adaptation" seems too literal a word) Michel Faber's deeply unsettling novel, Under The Skin.

The film stars Scarlett Johansson as an alien predator (of sorts) who picks up male hitchhikers in the seemingly unlikely landscape of Scotland. (I'm half-Scottish; somehow science-fiction isn't a topic you most immediately associate with Scotland.)

I worked on the first three drafts of the script, before Jonathan - over the period of a decade - took it in a totally new direction, including the intriguing device of having Johansson pick up unsuspecting real-life hitchhikers (who were later persuaded to sign a release for the film - or not, in some cases) and see what came next, courtesy of a camera hidden in her truck.

Ryan was kind enough to quote me twice in his piece. You can read the Sunday Times article here, but it's protected by a paywall - though you can try a month's subscription to the Times and the Sunday Times for £1 (well worth it for a good mix of news and opinion in a style US newspapers just can't carry off, for some reason).

My words are my own, though, so here they are:

"I remember Jon was fascinated by the main character’s physicality. We viewed her as someone horrifically crippled by surgery—a beautiful creature who was naturally four-legged, who had been twisted and broken in order to make her walk upright on two legs, with these enormous breasts to attract men, for a very specific reason."

"It was a fabulous time, literally like working on a Fellini movie, with anything possible. Jon is very connected to his subconscious. It’s alive for him. He’s probably one of the coolest and most fascinating people I’ve worked with, although given to pronouncements like, ‘One day it’s a horse, the next it’s a chair’, which aren’t always the most helpful when you’re writing the script, though they are intriguing."  

Scarlett Johansson in Under The Skin.


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