Some people think that being a writer is glamorous. I know that I once did. I dreamed of finally getting published and all the fun that would follow. I imagined traveling to distant countries, staying in city hotels and seeing the sights.
Most of these dreams did actually come true and although I do enjoy it, it can be hard work. Having to grab a coffee and manage without breakfast to be in time for a school event; attending a bookshop when hardly anybody turns up; spending a night alone in a strange town on a wet Monday; visiting a big city but seeing only the inside of your hotel room – these are all regular occurrences in the life of a full-time author. Not quite as glamorous as some people might believe.
The same is true of filmmaking. In the spring of 2012, I visited Vancouver in Canada, to watch the film version of The Spook’s series being made. It’s called Seventh Son, and is due to open in the UK on 27th March.
The crew had created some amazing sets, designed by Dante Ferretti (who won an Oscar for his work on Hugo). I was shown the preliminary models and artworks, then the sets themselves. They were very big and very convincing. I saw a walled city set in a huge muddy field. It was like a building site, complete with heavy machinery and workers in hard hats. It was all very impressive, although not glamourous.
I met Jeff Bridges, who plays the Spook. He looked convincing. He believed that he was the Spook—I could see it in his eyes. Yes, he was the Spook! Then I watched him playing the same scene over and over again until everyone was satisfied. It was an action scene and the Spook kept falling backward against a pillar, in danger of his life. He was covered in dust and he probably had bruises or at least aching bones the following day. It wasn’t glamorous. It was hard work.
After four months of filming, post-production began. Somewhere during this lengthy process the glamour I’d imagined finally appeared.
After years in the making (and a decade after the first Spook’s book was published) I watched a special 3D preview of Seventh Son in Paris. It is spectacular – there is a great deal of action, intrigue and conflict. There are creatures of the dark that lurch out of the screen and try to remove your head, your heart, or maybe even your thumb bones. And there are witches; lots and lots of witches. I’m looking forward to seeing what audiences in the UK think!
Watch the Seventh Son trailer…