“WHITE LIGHTNIN”‘ director, Dominic Murphy
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Monday, Jan. 19, 11:59 pm — Egyptian Theatre, Park City]
I didn’t consciously think about the forces affecting cinema today at any point during the long development of the movie. The script was inspired by the life of a real person but it’s fiction so we told the story in the way we thought would be most effective. But that’s not to say myself and the writers didn’t agonize over structure. I’m naturally drawn to character and narrative and I’ve worked in current affairs and documentary so that helped.
We never made any decisions based on how we thought the film might be received and we were never under pressure to change the story because we developed the script ourselves and only looked for financing once we were happy with it. It was never going to be multiplex material because it’s an extreme story, and that’s something we liked. A couple of people interested in financing the film had ideas about how to make it more commercial but we weren’t willing to make the compromises so that meant a longer wait and the risk the film would never get made. Eventually the U.K. Film Council saw the script and loved everything about it and didn’t want us to change a word.
I see the film as a character study as well as a kind of classic tragedy. The central character narrates the film and it was important for me that it was a “told” story — we are inside the head of the central character and that influenced the structure. In the very early stages we considered incorporating documentary material and using a very experimental form but as we progressed we realized we wanted this story to be classic iconic cinema.