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March 19, 2014 | posted in Filmmakers
Scottish Director and Writer John McKay recently returned to Glasgow after living in London for 20 years. He loves the city. And that’s where his latest film is set.
“I’d wanted to make a movie in Glasgow for a long time,” McKay says. Once he read David Solomons’ “kind of charming” script, he knew the time was right. “I fell for it, and three years later, I’d made the movie.”
His movie, “Not Another Happy Ending,” opens the 38th Cleveland International Film Festival on a light note.
“It’s just a very happy-go-lucky little movie,” explains McKay. “It’s not complicated or deep. It’s just kinda daffy and fun, and we hope it gets CIFF off to a great start.”
The story is about a writer, Jane, played by Karen Gillan, with writer’s block. After a successful first novel and a new romance, she’s too happy to finish her next novel, which she must do to fulfill her contract. Does a writer have to be miserable to be creative? Her publisher, French actor Stanley Weber, tries to dampen her spirits, but ends up falling in love with her. Not necessarily a story specific to Scotland, but one that could happen anywhere.
At one point, though, producer Claire Mundell discussed with McKay whether to “take this great script, charming, upbeat, witty, fun and put it in New York or Chicago because it would probably get financed quicker,” Mundell tells ReelScotland, a publication with news and reviews of Scottish films.
But the two Scots stuck to their guns and kept the film in Glasgow to showcase the city—its “upbeat, contemporary, witty, European, dynamic and creative side,” Mundell says. Other Scottish films focus on the gritty and grim side of Glasgow.
McKay knew that making an independent film “about young people in urban locations who are having misadventures in love and life” had broader appeal.
In fact, the director sees similarities in Glasgow and Cleveland—both, he notes,
have an industrial past and a “newfound funky present day.” His film portrays the unique character of the city and a place where the personalities in the story shine through.
Gillan, a “six-foot daffy redhead,” has been compared to American actress Diane Keaton. And it just so happens that McKay is a Woody Allen fan.
“I have to admit I love those movies from the late ’70s, where Woody and Diane would just stroll around Manhattan being neurotic,” he says. “They’re so funny and perfect.”
Although he says the characters in his film “can’t really compare” with Allen and Keaton, he does agree that Gillan has “an amazingly off-centre dress sense,” similar to Keaton’s Annie Hall character.
—Anne M. DiTeodoro
03/19/14 @ 7:00 PM – Not Another Happy Ending