Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hazel Gaynor's "The Girl Who Came Home"

Hazel Gaynor is an author and freelance writer in Ireland and the U.K. and was the recipient of the Cecil Day Lewis Award for Emerging Writers in 2012. Originally from North Yorkshire, England, she now lives in Ireland with her husband, two young children, and an accident-prone cat.

Here Gaynor dreamcasts an adaptation of The Girl Who Came Home, her first novel:
It’s almost impossible to imagine The Girl Who Came Home as a movie, because that pesky James Cameron got there first (and Roy Ward Baker before him)! Is there room in this world for another Titanic movie we ask? Quite possibly – yes, but it would be a very brave director who took that one on!

That said, I have, of course, (as I imagine most writers do at one stage or another) imagined my scenes being played out on the big screen, accompanied by a sweeping John Williams’ score. And yes, I also see Oscar nominations. What to wear? What to wear? In actual fact, while I was writing my novel (and unbeknown to me at the time), a TV documentary was being made about the people who inspired the novel. Waking the Titanic was aired on Irish TV channel TG4 to coincide with the Titanic centenary in April 2012 and tells the story of the Addergoole Fourteen. Watching that documentary was like seeing my words come to life and was a very special moment.

While some of The Girl Who Came Home would clearly have to filmed on Titanic (I wonder if Cameron still has that replica he built in New Mexico?), much of the action takes place away from the ship, so yes, there is scope for a movie version after all. Fox, Warner Brothers – I am available for discussions!

Oddly, I have never imagined a modern cast list for the movie version of The Girl Who Came Home (sorry Leo and Kate). I actually think the only way to ever do another Titanic movie, would be to shoot it as a classic 1950’s, hopelessly romantic, black and white epic. Think of the look and feel of The Artist, crossed with the brilliance of It’s A Wonderful Life. Now that’s a movie I would love to see!

For the cast, my leading ladies would have to be a young Maureen O’Hara as Maggie in 1912 and an older Katherine Hepburn as Maggie in 1982. S√©amus would be played by a young Spencer Tracy and Jimmy and Grace would be played by James Stewart and Donna Reed. For the rest of the characters, I would pretty much take the cast of It’s A Wonderful Life and re-cast them in my movie. Gloria Grahame (who played the role of Violet in It’s a Wonderful Life would make an excellent Peggy).

In terms of a director, I’d be happy to talk to Michel Hazanavicius, who directed The Artist or, if he wasn’t available, maybe Ang Lee. It would also be interesting to see what Baz Luhrmann would do with it!

Of course, the scenes in Ireland would have to be filmed on location in Mayo and Cork and I am quite sure my children would insist on it being made in 3D – with a few minions thrown in for good measure.

Ah, pipe dreams. Fun to imagine, all the same.
Visit Hazel Gaynor's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

The Page 69 Test: The Girl Who Came Home.

--Marshal Zeringue