OF TROPICAL FISH
Screenplay adapted from the novel THE HOUDINI HIJACKING, also see under "Books"
Carl Henderson is an obsessed journalist living in a strained relationship and working on no more than a hunch. He is writing a biography of Raymond Dante, a young politician who died some ten years earlier, and decides to make a personal journey to investigate the strange death of the man he so respected.
Dante was a cyber-hero who single-handedly stopped the lethal 'Houdini' computer virus attack on the country’s health system. He later became a Member of Parliament and married into Russian money but was believed to have died in a storm at sea off the coast of Scotland. His body was, however, never recovered. Henderson's research for his biography of Dante generates tantalising new clues which lead to a Caribbean island where his subject may still be alive.
What Henderson finds causes him to rethink everything he knows about Dante. With the extraordinary truth staring him in the face he must find a way of sharing his new understanding with the world at large, but this is something he must do alone and with great restrictions on his own personal freedoms.
When can the truth also be a lie? Is a conspiracy merely the truth we refuse to believe? Are we all unknowingly imprisoned by hidden digital locks of the mind? Who has the keys?
It was very interesting to create this adaptation from my own novel as I was able to use the screenwriting knowledge from Film School applied to a story which I knew extremely well.
A Screenplay is a very particular format, when writing one from an original idea there is a need to be very efficient with the telling of the story, showing what is necessary to convey the ideas, and themes as well as the plot and character development.
A novel is a very different beast as there is room to manoevre with suggestion, description and a more introspective approach. To adapt the novel for the screen is a very tricky operation as much has to be cut and what is left must retain the essence of the story. If the fundamentals of the author's intent are lost in translation, the screenplay and the resulting translation by the director onto the screen, will contain little of the idea behind the original story. It may have many other admirable strengths but it may be more accurate to say the film is simply 'based on' the book.
Writing this adaptation forced me to focus on what it was in the orginal story that compelled me to write it in the first place, and I think this screenplay grew to be a filtered and concentrated version of the source text, highlighting that which I found to be of emerging interest.
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