INTERVIEW: ALAN WIGHTMAN – BLOOD MOON

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC INTERVIEW: ALAN WIGHTMAN – BLOOD MOON

Referee the ultimate showdown between gunslinger and lycanthrope when acclaimed western-horror Blood Moon hits DVD and Digital September 1 from Uncork’d Entertainment.

The old west howls when a town is overtaken by skinwalkers. Knowing they’ve got to combine forces if they want to survive the night, the passengers of a stagecoach unite with a heroic gunslinger and a couple of outlaws to battle the beastly enemy under the blood moon.

Only the second ever western to be filmed in the UK, the award-winning film stars The Woman in Black’s Shaun Dooley, George Blagden (TVs Vikings), Anna Skellern (The Descent II) and Corey Johnson (Captain Phillips).  Jeremy Wooding directs from an Alan Wightman script.



A festival favorite (Blood Moon premiered at FrightFest and has since gone on to play in no less than another half-a-dozen high-profile film festivals),  Blood Moon is both a unique twist on the werewolf film and a riveting update on the classic western.

We spoke to the film’s talented scribe Alan Wightman about mixing wolves and western heroes.

How’d ya get started, Alan?

I started out writing gags for TV comedy shows in the late 70’s, while still holding down a full-time job as an insurance broker.  In those days a beginning writer could send unsolicited material directly to programme producers and they’d read it – because TV entertainment was a hungry monster that continually devoured fresh comedy material!

It was all very hit and miss – months would go by without me selling a gag – but I persevered, writing every night when I came home from work and at weekends. Two, three years later, producers slowly began to commission me to write for some of the biggest names in British TV comedy.  Eventually, several comics asked me to write special material for their nightclub and theatre acts on a regular basis.

But I still kept my day job – which you can imagine made life very complicated at times! I didn’t turn professional until 1991.

Remember the first thing you ever wrote professionally?

The first comedy sketch I got paid for was on a TV show starring British comedian Les Dawson playing a prehistoric caveman who sat with his wife staring at a primitive wall painting of a buffalo, just like a modern couple would watch TV. He asked his wife to find out what was on ‘the other side’ and she walked over to the wall, spun the buffalo painting around and on the other side was a painting of a dinosaur.

Well someone must have thought it was funny at the time! I received £30 which was a week’s wages for me at the time. After that early success I didn’t sell anything else to TV for a year!

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When did you start writing Blood Moon?

In 2008. The film went before the cameras in 2014.

How many drafts did you go through before it got the greenlight?

It’s hard to say because there were several occasions when only certain scenes needed re-writing, but from that very first draft in 2008 until the time the cameras started rolling, I would guess I wrote around 20 complete drafts.

Do you have to be a fan of westerns and horror movies to write one, you think?

To devote years to getting the script into the best possible shape, you have to really love what you’re writing about, whatever the story and subject.

I enjoy all types of movies, from Jason and The Argonauts to Citizen Kane and Plan Nine From Outer Space to Cinema Paradiso, but westerns were the first films I remember being taken to see by my parents. When I got older and started going on my own, I loved the “X- Certificate Adults Only” horror films that Hammer, Amicus, Tigon and American International were producing.

So cowboys and monsters were definitely an early influence.

Has Blood Moon opened doors for you –particularly with all those positive reviews?

Being the cautious type, I’d say that doors that were previously closed are now slightly ajar rather than wide open.

In 2013, just before “Blood Moon” went into production, the director Jeremy Wooding, asked me to re-write a horror screenplay set in the fashion world that he and a friend had started some years before, called “The Shoot”.  I spent most of 2014 writing various drafts and we now hope it will be our next production. Jeremy also has an original script of mine called “Mutation!”

Meanwhile I continue to work on my own projects including a stage musical about the great Louis Prima and a screenplay loosely based on an incident in my childhood. I also ghost-write a comedian’s weekly newspaper column and I’m working on ideas for “Blood Moon 2”.

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Finish this sentence – if you likedand —- you’ll love Blood Moon!

Stagecoach and An American Werewolf in London.

Because it takes a remote Wild West setting ( a ghost town rather than a Wells Fargo way station in the desert) from John Ford’s 1939 classic and replaces the marauding Apaches with an eight-foot tall, flesh-eating Skinwalker.

Looking forward to HBO’s Westworld remake?

I certainly am. The teaser trailer looks great! I saw the original film when it was first released and watched the 1980 TV spin-off Beyond Westworld, so I’m intrigued how they’ll update and expand the idea for a new audience in this era of ground-breaking special effects and multi-million dollar budgets.

It has to be something very special if Sir Anthony Hopkins has agreed to star in it because he must get movie scripts delivered to his front door every day….by truck!

BLOODMOONCAST


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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