A frank chat with Kevin Lewis, author and script writer of THE KID
It was a real treat to interview the humble and positive Kevin Lewis whose newest book The Scent of a Killer is out now. The Kid hits stores in Australia on 27/06/2011.
The Kid is a very difficult watch, initially, for the long stretch there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel, how was the mood on the set and how did you feel?
I only went on set a couple of times, I wanted to leave them with the freedom to do what they wanted with it, but when I did go on, everyone was really cool and upbeat about it. I did not go on set for the childhood scenes. The actors wanted to ask separate questions and what I didn't realize is that they were watching me when I wasn't looking just to see my mannerisms.
Is there anything about The Kid as a motion picture that you did not agree with?
The hardest thing for me to deal with was the fact that a lot of it was quite down and I'm not a down person and I think what they have done is taken the sad side of it but not taken enough of the happy side. If you read the book, it is not me at all. The script itself had quite a good flow, but what I think they did was take most of the down side of it and that was the thing that I regret the most. It's had very good reviews but I suppose where I'm coming from is that I don't think or speak about that and I'm not like that (down), you just get on, they relied too much on the sadness and I'm not a sad person, I am actually quite funny. Look I've seen it once and I've seen it with my wife, and it was much harder for me to watch than you (and it was equally hard to interview Kevin about such a personal project!).
I don't want pity, and people want to give you pity, I'm living my life and don't want to go back to it, but the public have been pretty cool about it. As far as I am concerned and to be honest it (the novel) should never have come out and I'm a little embarrassed about it; it was a very private thing and now it's a global thing, and that's a little hard to deal with. But this is why I think people enjoy it so much because it was never supposed to have been brought up; it's not a sob story.
From my experience the truth can be stranger than fiction and the average moviegoer would probably think Natascha's portrayal of Gloria was over the top, how did you find it?
She was a scary character, some people haven't lived in that environment and you get others saying yes, spot on because they've had mothers like it. Some people learned a lot from it, especially child services.
The end of the film is morally grey, wherein Kevin finds his strength from claiming what is rightfully his, and no more, by force? Looking back, could there have been any alternative, given the graveness of the situation?
What, you mean I could have taken more? (Awkward silence) I had to get my money back, and you are in a situation where you... I have to be careful what I say here, but when you push someone so far... Well, firstly, on a film level, you have fourteen hours of what's true to put into an hour and a half as a film so you had to generalize certain things, everything could have been done differently, but the dilemma is do we make a film that is true to the book, or make a film that's Hollywood. They were very keen not to sensationalize the ending.
How did The Kid as a novel get made into a movie? Did Nick Moran show interest or did you approach someone?
Yeah, Nick showed interest. A friend of mine used to work for a company; an option for another company just expired, and it just rolled from there really. Nick came onboard and ran with it from day one.
How much creative control did you have?
I wouldn't say I did (have a lot), you can't have creative control if you live it with Nick and Judith (the producer). Me, Nick and Tony wrote the script.
Were any of the locations in the film actual locations from your life?
No, we went back to a couple of locations just for everyone to see what it was like. But we were able to get an exact copy of the estate (as they were built around the country). Nick went back to one of his old neighborhoods and we were able to shoot some scenes there; the people that lived there were fantastic.
Do you have any other projects that you are working on? Would you consider writing another book?
I do write at the moment, I have several books that are fiction, the new one is Scent of a Killer, I've done five crime thrillers and that's what I mean about getting away from that past.