The Evolved on DVD

During a period of sleeplessness last night I was Googling random words and found out a film I co-wrote, THE EVOLVED, is available to buy at Amazon.com. It’s not released until September the 5th; but it’s available to pre-order.

I’m not trying to generate sales here, by the way, I’m just really excited; it’s the first time I’ve seen something I’ve written actually for sale somewhere. I’ve seen raw footage, I’ve seen rough cuts and I’ve seen trailers for various projects; but this is the first totally complete project to hit the stores.

Or at least the Internet.

They’ve got it here too: Movies Unlimited!

For the benefit of those who don’t know, which will be pretty much everyone who reads this, THE EVOLVED is a film I co-wrote with one of the two directors: Andrew Senior. Andy placed an add on Shooting People asking for help with a script he and some friends intended to make. He’d written around 30 pages of this script, about a shark monster terrorizing London, and wasn’t sure where to go from there.

We emailed each other back and forth, writing several drafts of the script, before arriving at the one which ended up being filmed. It was a bit of a torturous process; mainly because, every time I thought we’d finished and I could go back to saner projects, Andy would email me and say something like:

“You know what this script is missing? Nazis.”

I’d shout at the screen in frustration for a bit, then mull it over. Yep, he’s right. The script could use some Nazis.

Then Prince Harry went to a fancy dress party as a Nazi and suddenly it didn’t seem like such a good idea to be running round town in Nazi costumes. So the Nazis became a fast-food company – Burger Priest. Which is apparently what happened in real life. From there it became obvious that the ruler of Burger Priest should be The Pope. A Nazi Pope, that’s hilarious.

Until they actually elected one. Then all of a sudden it went from foolishness to satire. It’s not meant to be, we just thought it was funny.

Again, I thought we were done; but Andy added this tiny scene with a talking foetus, found in a burger. I thought this was great and insisted Feety became a character; and the film was re-written again.

You may have gathered by now, this film isn’t going to win any Oscars. The film was written specifically with Troma in mind; if you’re not familiar with their work – shame on you.

We were nearly done with the script, but we still hadn’t got an ending we both agreed on. Problem was, Andy and John Turner (his co-director) had already started shooting. As the weeks rolled by, we tried various combinations of endings, none of which were quite right. In desperation, Andy rang me up; which was the first time I’d ever spoken to him:

“How about if they just run away and we say it’s end of part one?”

Genius, I can go back to my real life now. So they did.

And that was that. The film was made and it was entered into Tromadance, where we thought it might find an appreciative audience; but it didn’t: it was refused entry to the festival.

We were a bit annoyed.

Until, that is, we found out it wasn’t in the festival because Troma already knew they wanted to release it. From there we got a screening at the film market in Cannes; which was fantastic. For those of you who haven’t been, the screening rooms hold about 30 people. The films we went to see were about half-full; and fifty percent of people walk out after 15 minutes. The Evolved was full, with people sitting in the aisles, and no one left for half an hour. Most of the audience stayed until the end. Even Lloyd Kaufman himself turned up for the screening – apparently that’s quite rare.

The weirdest part of this for me, was I was meeting the guys who made the film for the first time. All thanks to the wonder of email.

From there, we got reviewed in Variety (I love this interview, particularly the puerile script comment, and the references to a talking eyeball – there isn’t one); we got an interview on Radio One; and now the DVD is due to be released on September the 5th.

All in all, working on this film has been a blast. Okay, so it’s not going to win any awards; hell it’s probably not even going to sell any copies*, but it’s mine. I wrote it, or at least half of it, and I’m very excited by the whole experience.

You can tell, can’t you?

*Oddly enough, even though it’s not released yet, it has a sales rank. The weird thing being, it’s gone up 2 places over night. Has someone actually bought a copy?

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