I was in a meeting this week to talk about turning The Life of Reilly into a screenplay. At first it sounds impossible but the more I learn and investigate the more I think there is a really good chance of it becoming a reality.
I had no idea how much money would be required or what it would entail. My good friend Steve who plays Ged Reilly’s Dad in the play has a Act2Cam film school and is well connected in the industry and Alison Stanley who wrote The Life of Reilly play already has the film mapped out in her mind and in her notebook.
To dangle the carrot to distributors etc there must be a 10 minute high quality pilot professionally made. This involves bringing in scriptwriters, a producer, a director and casting. The scene used for the pilot will most likely be the explosive showdown between Reilly’s Mam and the local council about school transport. We’ve all been there and can relate. I think, not that i’m an expert, that it will in a snapshot capture the everyday stresses we face. Handing you most precious belonging over to a complete stranger, trusting them to care for your child and your child not able to relate to you whether they like this person, whether they feel safe or threatened with them is the hardest thing i’ve had to do.
I wish people knew how we truly live. A minefield of marital disagreements bore from stress over money and time misspent, from a cocktail of sleep deprivation and anxiety, from a fear for their future that gathers a permanent black cloud of uncertainty. The battles we have, the books we must read, the dossiers of papers we amass hi-lighting every single thing your child is ‘failing’ at to reach an unnecessary milestone to achieve a vital tick in a box to notch up the score on the SEN school lottery. All this when all we want to do is celebrate their achievements no matter how small. All this just to get our children to the school and the education they have every right to.
People leave the play touched by what they have seen. It changes their perspective about autism family dynamics and I like to hope that their new found realisations are shared with friends, families and acquaintances drumming down judgement from the lookers on. A film on TV could do so much. NT actors working alongside autistic actors and consultants is a dream. No flowering it up just telling it like it is in all its glorious sometimes heartbreaking detail.
Please if you can support this project, click the link below. I trust the professionals who are already lining up to do this pilot and hopefully full length film the justice and the air time it deserves.