The Molly Parkin biopic is well under way - I caught up with its young director Robert Chilcott to see how the project's coming along. And what it's like working with the legendary Moll...
Robert Chilcott! You're making the Molly Parkin biopic! Is it a big screen feature or TV flick? What's it called and has it a theme?
It’s a small film for a big screen. Its working title is, quite simply, Molly. We started out with the seven deadly sins – lust and gluttony ultimately prevail. Its themes are, I guess, sex and death. It’s a family film
And tell us where you are with it. You went to Cannes with the project in May - what happened?
The earth moved. We discovered the meaning of existence. There were orgies and satanic rituals every night. Sorry, the reality is this is a boring answer. We have a script. We have some interest from a French company, and from the Welsh. Someone else is sourcing the finance.
Did you visit the porno Hot d'Or fest? - usually that's on at the same time.
It is. But there was no need – the normal Cannes Marché is sleazy and pornographic enough as it is, full of plenty of human cocks and cunts.
Did you write the script? What was it like working with Molly? Did you ever argue?
We went to various dive bars and cafes over several months. Molly acted out nostalgic scenes of sex, booze and psychological violence. I took notes. Arguing is a waste of energy. Every time I disagreed with something, Molly bent me over and gave me an enema (I think there may be a scene like that in the script). It was a perfect working relationship, very cleansing.
And Molly's granddaughter Carson is playing Molly. What's she like and tell us about other cast members.
Carson's screen test
We’ve done a screen test with Carson and she’s amazing, very natural, understated – perfect screen presence. We’ll probably use some current Soho flibbertigibbets for other supporting characters. Whoever’s right really, whether they’re professional actors or society dropouts – a mixture of both.
Is this your first movie? Tell us about you (I know you're from Wales but why do I want to say you're Spanish and call you Roberto?)
I’m from a little village called San Portablo, a peasant village at the bottom of a mountain. Molly is from the top – she’s the medicine woman that heals the afflicted. I’ve made some shorts. This is the first feature movie, yes.
Our eyes met across the Green Carnation bar (though Molly's turban blocked the view). Tell us the most shocking thing you saw or heard of at that pit of iniquity.
The price of the drinks.
How are you handling the sex? - in the film I mean. Molly's had a lot of that. Will this be like Von Trier's Afterlife with full-on humping? Will someone be playing Louis Armstrong and John Mortimer, among others?
I doubt we’ll have testicles bobbing in slow motion, but you never know. There’ll certainly be humping, but I guess it’s up to the actors whether they want to show their rods or twotties. It would have to be played straight.
There’s a scene in the early 80s where Molly is being spit-roasted by two public schoolboys in the back of a car. She takes a moment to squeeze cheese and has an accident – well you don’t need any close-ups or funny camera angles for that. You just show it. It needs no aesthetic embellishment. Some may find it amusing, others may be repulsed – it’s up to the audience to decide. Of course, that’s an extreme example.
There will some tender love scenes, of course. Armstrong and Mortimer are not in the current version of the script. Bo Diddly is in it. There are parties with the Studio 54 lot, an S&M party for Mommie Dearest with everyone dressed as Joan Crawford beating their daughters with coat hangers. Lots of famous people appear, many of them non-speaking parts, background scenery, so I guess we’ll have to contact Stars in their Eyes for lookalikes. The only person likely to play themselves would be you.
I'll talk with my agent, darling. Which in your view is the best film ever? Do you want to make a career in movies?
Filmmaking is not a career. It’s a distraction from real life, a last resort.
And finally, Roberto, if you were given $50m to make a movie once the Molly pic is out, what project would you do?
I’d buy an island, become a recluse and go feral. You don’t need $50 million to make a movie.
Robert, I wish you all the best with Molly, I just know it's going to be great. And I insist on doing a cameo: I could be some strange shadowy figure dressed in plaid, mounted on an old bike.