Laura Nureldin. Fantastic Script and Hollywood Star Looking for Hollywood Producer!
Given that Spielberg has his hands full with his plans for “Big Friendly Giant”, a story that will hit the silver screen sometime this year, and Peter Jackson is loaded with projects after “Lord of the Rings “ and his Hobbits series, I wonder who could direct a fantasy story based in Ancient Persia, with a Xerxes fallen head over heels who’s fate is to be decided in Bucharest.
Laura Nureldin sketched his destiny, because she goes to sleep late and has enough time to watch a couple of good movies. After seeing them, she imagines others. She basically moves characters across stories, as it happened with a girl from Los Angeles that she whisked to Xerxes’ Persia. Laura figured that a lot of might come of it: some bad, but some good.
What? Do the things I’ve just said seem a little out of place? They shouldn’t. As if going by a script where the absurd is based on misfit items, I was skeptical the day when my neighbor on the 4th floor invited me to have lunch with Francesco, a nice and lively guy, who turned out to be Anthony Quinn’s son. I learned my lesson and was not that surprised when she asked me to hang out with another one of her friends whom she mentioned had done a movie – was it “Three Kings? – with George Clooney.
Apparently, there is no misfitting. Although I’m not particularly a fan of motivational texts, I admit that anything is possible and I believe that the theory according to which we are six steps away from any person on the planet will pass any serious test. It will even pass a mock one! You don’t need six steps; sometimes all it takes is to just get out of your house.
I’ve asked Laura Nureldin if she contacted Peter Jackson. Of course she has, it’s just that he’s a little busy. However, a Hollywood star liked her story and accepted the lead part in her film. We’ll have a bit of frustration on this one, since she wouldn’t reveal his name just yet.
Still, I feel that it will turn out to be exactly as Laura sees it: an adventure movie, with a touch of comedy, romance and drama. Mora and Xerxes (Laura’s main characters) were two people who minded their own business. Mora trained actors, taught them how to speak, while Xerxes was kicking Spartan and Athenian butt. That was before Laura came along and turned an entire world upside down, invented plots for them and eventually told their story…
Rep. You are trying to live your own version of the American dream, combining it with the new conceptual mess, apparently. Let’s see what your own personal story might sound like: an unusual Romanian woman born in Iasi, who’s profile would draw the attention of an art photographer and who’s potential would get the glossy press hooked, a TV presenter and a sharp mind who writes a fantasy script and wants nothing but a Hollywood director. Being a fantasy story, I bet you told the Americans that you would settle for no less than Del Toro or Peter Jackson! You promised we’d die laughing when you give us the details…
Laura Nureldin. I’ve already emailed Peter Jackson. I even got an answer: his people told me they were loaded with projects for the next 6-7 years. Oh, and they only work with their own writers. I guess I’ll just have to do this with Spielberg 🙂 How did I get the epiphany in the first place? I go to sleep late. Or early, depending on which side of 3 am you are.
I was zapping and I came across a movie with some cool sets. And some cool actors. And I watched it. While watching, I started wondering what the story would have looked like from a different angle. With a different thread. With different crossroads. I started writing. A friend of mine read it and swore eternal hatred if I didn’t write a novel. She also told me I’d be a complete moron if I didn’t turn the story into a movie. (I had explained to her that the scenes in the book were conceived in a cinematic manner. I would be writing about 4-5 pages at a time, because that was how long a shooting day would last in my head LOL)
Another friend read the synopsis and told me to turn it into a script, because it would be easier for me to get funds. That figures. Problem: who in hell had ever written a script before? Not me. While writing the story, I had been collaborating brilliantly with a nice glass of wine. When I moved on to the script, I reluctantly had to replace Mr. Pinot Noir with a small bucket of coffee (also Noir) and I started learning what a script was and what it wanted from me. Trigonometry, I tell ya! Well, I learned, I got myself professional script writing software and I brought it to this world. I had written the story thinking about the lead character in that movie I had watched. And no, I would never have any other actor play my Xerxes.
So I created an IMDb Pro account and started digging around for the man. Found him. Sent script. Got answer from team: “Looks good, why don’t you send it to his manager? Here’s his email address”. When I read the mail, I had just woken up (not entirely) and all I could fathom was that the manager’s email was not a company one. Typical Romanian conclusion: “what kind of a manager is he?! How can he go around with such a lame address?” The two friends I have already mentioned virtually wiped the floor with me, as follows: “You idiot! Do you know how many people practically sleep on his doorstep before getting access to his private mail address? Email the man NOW!”
Check. The man answered within the hour. He said he’d be happy to attach the star, as long as I handled the funding, because they were up to their necks in projects. I’ve been trying to do that ever since. Over there, not over here. Because my story is a money eater, but also a money maker. Of course, if properly done and “sold”.
Rep. The synopsis is even more surprising since we have a speech trainer (speech trainer??? – a historian or an archaeologist would have been such a commonplace, right?) from Los Angeles who gets to meet Xerxes (if we think about the one in 300, the one with the Spartans, he seems a bit extravagant. Why Xerxes and not… Darius? That, assuming that all the other great leaders have already been outworn in all sorts of scripts and stories) . They play with a molecular device, dodge all kinds of plots at the palace… How did you get these ideas and how much of the story can you share with us?
Laura Nureldin. No. The Xerxes in 300 is BS. Historians claim this Persian king to be the most handsome man of his time. And that creature from 300 is anything but handsome. That is a hyperbola and, as any hyperbola, it’s off tracks. And Darius was his daddy :)) It’s Xerxes that I’m interested in. The molecular device is more of a pretext. The girl in my story, Mora, could have ended up in Ancient Persia by meditation, by drinking herself silly or by deep coma. The device is just a vehicle. I believe it to be the most decent one. :)))
I don’t want to share much of the story. It would be a pity for you not to see it on screen LOL The point is that this girl, Mora, ends up in Xerxes’ Persia. At some point, even Xerxes ends up in Mora’s Los Angeles. Lots of things happen. And Mora is not the blushing damsel in distress he’s used to. She’s rather the type of woman misogynists hate. Wait, they hate all women. Anyway, Mora is no daffodil. That’s why she’s got Xerxes’ back. They make a hell of a team, since he asks her to become the Queen of Persia. She’s not that keen on getting married… Especially since the King has got a temper and, on top of that, there’s a bunch of villains out to get him. How she helps him, how he saves her, I won’t tell you that, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Wait, I haven’t even decided who saves who. Maybe they just get a divorce and he gets the house and the kids. Not telling!
For such a story, it seems you either need George Lucas and some sort of female Harrison Ford, or Depardieu, along with Laurent Tirard or some other director of the Asterix and Obelix series. A comedy, an adventure, a fantasy or a drama? What exactly are you looking for, how did you start looking and what have you found so far?
Laura Nureldin. I’m not looking for anything, just showing off! LOL I started writing the story for myself. A couple of kind people read it and decided it would be a pity for it to remain locked in a drawer. Then it grew. And I want to see it go to college. And that college has got to be across the big pond. And why shouldn’t it? It’s an adventure movie, with a touch of comedy, romance and drama. My Mora and Xerxes are two people who simply mind their own business. She trains actors, teaches them how to speak, how to breathe and where to put a proper accent, while Xerxes is busy kicking Spartan and Athenian butt. These people, placed in an utterly impossible situation, begin finding sides to themselves they didn’t even know they had.
What have I found so far? I have found out that I can write things other than news and blog posts. I have discovered that it’s OK to have nerve when you strongly believe in something. I have seen that not everyone updates their IMDb Pro accounts (which sucks) and that “six degrees of separation” actually exist. Sometimes even fewer. What I’m looking for? A produceeeeeeer! One of those guys sitting on a pile of cash who won’t give me the money to make a blockbuster. [sigh] I’ll be good, I even promise to get awards. I got them in school and I haven’t changed that much since then, cross my heart!
Rep. I tend to believe that you created Xerxes’ love story by picturing yourself as a fantasy character, building connections with exceptional men, across time. If you were to take a trip through history and seduce them all, what times, what men, and what moment in their lives would catch your eye? They may even be fictitious characters. I myself loved Rhett Butler (although it’s a commonplace) and I would have loved to come along and turn his destiny around from the very first ball where Scarlett screwed up, not to mention the fact that, for me, Casablanca has an extra final scene: Rick Blaine turns around and says “This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”, and then disappears into the rain, next to a discrete and elegant silhouette – you’ve guessed: that’s me!
Laura Nureldin. A guy, by the name of Stephen King used to say “write what you know”. It’s only natural to put some of yourself in a character. It’s not natural, though, to put all of yourself in it, because then it will become an autobiography. There’s a lot of me in Mora, but she’s also got a life of her own.
Jeez, have you got any idea how much it sucks that your characters have a life of their own? When you’re writing like an idiot and you have no idea what the nuts in your story are up to? When you’re thinking that the story should go a specific way and it turns around and goes in the opposite direction? You feel like a scribe. It’s like someone else is dictating and all you do is put the words on paper. You simply put yourself on hold.
When you stop, you read what you’ve just written and it’s like a book you open for the first time. It’s a bit frustrating. But it’s also beautiful. And no, I don’t know who I would seduce from the past. After all, history was written by the winners, right? What if one of the most powerful historical figures was a nasty drunk, gambled treasury money and smacked his wife around? I’d rather take a stroll through each era. Except for the Middle Ages. That’s a “thanks, but no, thanks”. Other than that… It’s gotta be pretty cool seeing with your own eyes things that you’ve only read in books. Hearing the rustle of the silk dresses that adorned the ladies at the Court of Louis the XIVth (keeping the nose at a safe distance, though), walking under the colonnade of the Palace in Susa, making a case study on Nero’s psychosis, observed first hand. I’d take that anytime.
Rep. What do you think the European version of your movie would look like? I’m already picturing Xerxes standing completely still for like ten minutes, being filmed by a surveillance camera, as in Cache, before hopping behind the wheel of a Dacia sedan and then sipping a sour soup – as it happens in most Romanian movies; an urban anarchist as in What to do in Case of Fire or all by himself, spending the entire movie going through invisible walls, as in Die Wand. On the other hand, an Italian is just about to release a Sci Fi (Ana Ularu is in this film) and there have been other European productions known to have made a great job at challenging the commercial genre.
Laura Nureldin. I’ll disappoint you: my story, be it strange, a fantasy and even unbelievable, needs to be done in a classical manner. For balance. You know, it’s like wearing a loose-fitting top: the bottom has to be tight fit. If they’re both loose, the outfit will be unbalanced. Of course it’s got a great deal to do with the art of directing, of acting, of shooting… of doing everything a movie crew does. Thick accents are good, but only when counterbalanced by something else. And this goes for much more than just film making. Movies are life-like, right? Or is it the other way around? I’m not sure yet. Anyway, “I’d like to thank the Academy…”