‘Venus,’ Hanif Kureishi

Original screenplay contender


STORYLINE: A friendship between two grizzled, veteran thesps (Peter O’Toole and Leslie Phillips) is disrupted by an unlikely dalliance after one of the men’s 19-year-old grandniece turns up.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “There are issues in this film that are quite heavy,” explains the helmer. “There’s a man who dies at the end of the film, but there are also lots of jokes. And it’s also quite comic. So, it was blending all that stuff. And we were also pretty quick about shooting the film. (Director) Roger (Michell) and I are quite ruthless about not hanging around for a long time.”

BREAKTHROUGH IDEA: “This is a story about a bunch of old guys. And I was hanging around with a bunch of old guys more myself, and contemplating becoming that age,” Kureishi says of the genesis for his latest work. “I began to think about what could happen in these friendships over time. So, I quite like the scenes in the film where the old guys sit around and shoot the breeze. There is quite a basic setup in that, but as a writer, I’ve been pretty much blessed with actors who have not only been able to speak these lines, but put a considerable imprint on them.”

CHOICE LINES: When Phillips’ character admits that he’s contemplating writing his life’s memoirs, O’Toole as the merciless pal retorts, “That won’t take long.”