My spec dark comedy feature script Hurricane Betty started out as I'm sure many great ideas for a film do – with a drunken, almost unbelievable dinner party anecdote. A friend-of-mine shared his childhood memory of a journey to France that turned into a farcical road trip. That night lying in bed wired on espresso martinis, I fell in and out of dreamtime, all the while I was living out the story as a film. I knew then I had to write the script and from there on in, the words have just rolled onto the page.
I’ve been obsessed with road movies since I watched a mild-mannered commuter stuck behind a wheel in Spielberg’s surreal cult road movie Duel. All my favourite films seems to involve a car journey at some point; The Straight Story, Little Miss Sunshine, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Wild at Heart… I could go on and on!
Nothing beats the adventure of a road trip. Travelling seems to draw out the best and worst in people, and in my opinion a car is the perfect place to instigate conflict and drama. Everyone at some point has had a bad or funny experience while driving and it's been great talking to all my friends for inspiration. Many of their stories have made it into this film.
Drawing on these and many claustrophobic memories of being trapped in a beat-up Austin Metro with fractious parents, where all the blinding arguments seemed to happen, I began writing a dark comedy set on the eve of the Great Storm of 1987. For me that night is etched in my memory as my family and I all got stranded on the M25, ill-prepared as usual and certainly not on speaking terms by the end of the night. Interesting to see that Michael Fish’s infamous weather broadcast is currently being used by BBC2 to promote their latest comedy offering.
If you're a producer or director keen to read more, please get in touch. I’ve loved every moment of writing this script but now for the tricky bit – getting it out there and turned into an epic weather-battered British road trip from hell.