New Film


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Kevin O'Neill

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Hey Guys,

My name is Kevin O’Neill and I’m a filmmaker from Cork. At the moment I’m developing a new film about the Lusitania, which we plan to shoot next year.

What is the film about?
The film is about people. The people onboard the Lusitania and the people involved in the rescue operation after it was torpedoed and explores what impact it would have had on their lives.

What is the film not about?
The film is not about the great ship itself. Nor will it explore the possibility that she was carrying munitions. It will not go into possible reasons for the sinking or anything like that.


We hope to bring something new and tell a story that hasn’t been told before.

I’m sure we’ll be regular visitors here to tap into your great knowledge of the liner and the disaster that was her sinking.

So to kick things off. We won’t be doing anything in Titanic proportions, like building a replica. Therefore for scenes taking place in places such as on the decks we will need some other ship to double, are their any, ideally in Europe that would look something like what the Lusitania did?

Thanks,
Kevin
 

J Kent Layton

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Mar 27, 2004
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Kevin,

This is an interesting project, and sounds like it has a lot of merit. Jim Kalafus and Mike Poirier are extremely knowledgeable on the people who were aboard, and they did the forward for my Lusitania book. If you drop me an e-mail through my web site, I will also be happy to help you out in any way that I can. Take care!
 
May 12, 2009
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Just as long as you built a stunning replica of the 1st Class dining saloon... Then I can die a happy man. (Though a replica of the 1st Class lounge would just be cherry on top.)

As for using substitutes for the ship... Be careful, or your film could end up a campy patchwork ala "SOS Titanic."
 
Jul 9, 2000
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>>Nor will it explore the possibility that she was carrying munitions.<<

That may be hard to avoid since the ship was carrying some munitions and it really wasn't that much of a secret at the time. I don't know if the passengers were all that aware of it but the officers almost certainly would have known. Even if descreetly, this would have had some tounges wagging.

>>...are their any, ideally in Europe that would look something like what the Lusitania did? <<

You may well have to build some re-creations in order to pull this off. I'm not aware of any ship with Edwardian decor surviving to this day which even remorely resembles the Lusitania.
 
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....When all else fails, use the Queen Mary. Though, in the end, it always ends up looking laughingly silly.

And no, you CANNOT get away with shooting interiors in an Edwardian period hotel. Some Titanic films tried it and failed miserably. (See "SOS Titanic" and "No Greater Crap... Err, Love.")
 
K

Kevin O'Neill

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Thanks for the input guys,

>> If you drop me an e-mail through my web site, I will also be happy to help you out in any way that I can. Take care!<<

I might just take you up on that, thanks.

>>Just as long as you built a stunning replica of the 1st Class dining saloon... Then I can die a happy man. (Though a replica of the 1st Class lounge would just be cherry on top.) <<

We'll do our best.

>>As for using substitutes for the ship... Be careful, or your film could end up a campy patchwork ala "SOS Titanic."<<

This is something we want to avoid.

>>That may be hard to avoid since the ship was carrying some munitions and it really wasn't that much of a secret at the time. I don't know if the passengers were all that aware of it but the officers almost certainly would have known. Even if descreetly, this would have had some tounges wagging.<<

It may get a mention but it's not going to be the main focus.

>>You may well have to build some re-creations in order to pull this off. I'm not aware of any ship with Edwardian decor surviving to this day which even remorely resembles the Lusitania.<<

If thats what we have a do then thats what we'll have to do.

Also just to clarify it was exteriors I was looking for not interiors.

I’m not talking about a using it for a wide shot or anything, that wouldn’t work, more so for if there was a scene on one of the decks.
 
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I don't know if this will be of any help, but the recent Discovery Channel docudrama was able to commission some excellent reproductions of the ship on a seemingly shoestring budget. Perhaps you could contact their people to see who they contracted for the sets (and hopefully you won't make the same mistake they did when they used Mauretania's photos for interior sets... D'oh!)
 
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C'mon! The acting, set design, script... It DEFINES 70s made-for-tv camp! And I mean it in the nicest way possible. ;-)
 
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>>Also just to clarify it was exteriors I was looking for not interiors.<<

Same problem I'm afraid. The design of the Lusitania was fairly unique in it's own right and wasn't duplicated anywhere except with her half sister Mauritaina. Unless you're willing to build a set, you'll have to do some green screen work and a lot of CGI.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>How is SOS Titanic "campy"?

*Margaret Brown the lovable mental hospital escapee, as limned by Cloris Leachman?

*Jack Thayer and Milton Long ogling women in the Turkish bath?

*Susan St. James final moments onscreen?

It's a different SORT of camp than the Poseidon Adventure. It reeks of "earnest film making" camp, a la Al Pasino in Revolution, in which things are treated with the utmost seriousness, yet the end result is still risible. Shining Through is the crown jewel of that genre, but S.O.S. Titanic is a pretty good example. Not laugh aloud funny, but still camp.
 
May 27, 2007
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Good Luck, Kevin on you Film! Hope everthing falls into place!

I don't remember SOS Titanic as campy but the title sounds kinda campy! But I remember the movie fondly. Of course I haven't seen it since I was 9 or so. My favorite scene is of the Survivors on Carpathia. Maybe because I don't remember any camp in that scene?

As for Shining though it was totally different from the Novel once the Heroine got to Germany and not really following the Novel before either so I agree that movie is camp and how! They should of just stuck to the novel!

Speaking of books to film that end up as camp there's also Scarlett which by not following the novel ended up as camp or crap! But I digress.

I still don't remember Titanic as camp but I haven't seen it in 22 years so I can go either way!
 
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Well, in its defense, "SOS Titanic" is camp by default, since it's a 70s primetime tv movie...

Anyway, back on topic....
 
May 27, 2007
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I did not know that! Thanks Evgueni!
happy.gif
Yes, back to topic!
 

Jim Kalafus

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LUSITANIA THOUGHTS:

Hey, Kevin. As Kent said, Mike and I have several hundred accounts from the first week or so after the disaster, most unpublished or not reprinted since 1915. The best advise I can give you is IGNORE ANYTHING WRITTEN AFTER ROUGHLY 1918. Most of the best known, oft quoted, facts regarding the disaster are either flat out untrue, or rather broad interpretations. What people said in the first few days, and what they said years or even decades later are often polar opposite. So, do NOT touch a single book. Begin contacting archives and get the original 1915 material.
 
May 27, 2007
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Hi Kevin,

Jim has a point in that most of the accounts he spoke of were taken from survivors just a day or days after they were rescued so the thoughts of what happened were still fresh in their minds! A lot of them might of been in shock though but still I start digging there If I were you.
happy.gif
 

Eric Longo

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Aug 13, 2004
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Dear Kevin,

I've sent you a PM but I just remembered this function never works for me, so I'll ask you to drop me an email at the address in my signature line.

Best,
Eric K. Longo
 

Jim Kalafus

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>So, do NOT touch a single book.

Except for Kent's. It's all you'll need. Archival research and Kent's book.
 

Jim Kalafus

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Here's something to ponder. It is easy to make a "feel good" Titanic movie, since the vast majority of people who were aboard for the terrifying portion of the disaster did not survive to leave accounts of it.

Now, with Lusitania, if you make a factual film you will also make a horribly depressing film. Sometimes, like Schindler's List, it can be done. But, you are going to have to fight producers tooth and nail if you want this film to be even 50% accurate. Because the majority of people who spoke immediately after the disaster did not speak of heroic officers, self sacrificing husbands, etc. They wrote about being scared and seeing horrible things. And were VERY angry and articulate. Some of the shoot-from-the-hip remarks made about the Admiralty bordered on treasonous in a wartime context. Within a week, as peoples' minds cleared, cliches started creeping in.

I'm not saying this to be discouraging or disparaging. I sincerely hope that you can do it, and will gladly help in any way I can. But, read the following never-reprinted account by a survivor with brilliant powers of observation, and then try to translate it into something commercially viable:

"My first thought was 'This is the end of earthly happiness.' I saw a great volume of dirty water rise. It was filled with broken iron and splinters of wood, and though it fell all about me not a piece touched me. Then, for what must have been half a minute there was the deepest, most awful silence I ever experienced, the siren did not sound at all, in spite of what the stewardess had told me.

Finally, as realization came, the people began rushing out of their cabin doors. Two women, mother and daughter clasped each other tight in order not to be torn apart. My thought was to get back to the stateroom where my husband lay. But the stairway was blocked with the people coming up from the second cabin. A young woman stood with her arms around the post of the stairway, screaming 'Charlie! Charlie!' And I was to hear the same woman still shrieking the same name in acute hysteria in an Irish hotel days later. Both her husband and father were drowned.

After the second cabin passengers had all come up, I started down the stairway and met a rush from the third cabin. They turned me clear around four times before I could get off the stairway and wait for them to pass. My husband met me at the stateroom door with our life preservers in his hand. All three sets of strings on each life belt was tied securely, but we managed to undo them.

Finally, we got them on and hurried up on deck, where we found many people. My husband aided six persons to get into their life preservers properly. One was a woman with a heavy fur coat. 'Madam, you must get out of that coat.' said Mr. Naish. 'The fur will sink you.' She took it off, and he tied her life preserver on again for her. Another woman was wearing a long, heavy, wool coat with a large fur collar, her life preserver outside of that and her baby tied to the life preserver on her breast. Mr. Naish told her she must take the coat off and manage differently about the baby or both would be drowned. A pitifully strange sight was a woman, glassy-eyed, mouth hanging open and emitting queer sounds. She was dragging her life belt. As we tied it on her, another woman came along, her hat tied on with a long motor veil.

By that time the ship had tipped so far we couldn’t take our footing without taking hold of something. A boat was being launched, and one end dropped letting all the people it contained into the sea. At the sight, I felt faint and asked Mr. Naish to pinch me to help me back to consciousness. He did, and I was alright again in a moment. We made no effort to get into the lifeboats. Mr. Naish had promised me long before he would never force me to get into a lifeboat unless there was room for him.

Now, I saw the water coming closer. A boatman came up and said 'She’s steady. She’ll float for an hour.' But I knew she wasn’t steady, and wouldn’t float for an hour. 'Look,' I said, 'at the horizon and the railing of this boat. We’ll be gone in a minute.' And gone we were. The Irish coast looked far away, and the song “It’s a Long Long Way to Tipperary” kept glancing through my mind.

We took hold of the railing that penned in the lifeboats. I had my arm through my husband’s. But, as I felt the boat sinking I unclasped my hand from his, because I did not want to drag him down. At that moment the ship dipped down and over at the same time, bringing the water up to my armpits. A boat swung out and struck my head and cut it open, and I lifted my arm to keep it from striking my husband in the face. It seemed as if everything in the universe ripped and tore. The deck seemed to strike the soles of my feet hard.

The next thing I knew, I was twenty or thirty feet below the surface of the sea. I thought 'Why, this is like being on grandmother’s feather bed.' I was comfortable. I kicked, and rose faster. My head struck something that cut my scalp, and kept bumping. I got my arms around something, and when I came out of the water I was clasping the bumper of an overturned lifeboat."

A great account and 90% of what she says can be confirmed thru other sources. This is a safe account to use. But one which, if you let the mental images flow, is also fairly disturbing. And typical of what people sat down and wrote to family and friends waiting at home.
 
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