“You’ll be a serial killer.”
“People don’t realise how easily it happens…”
Death Sentence started life as a companion piece to an as-yet unmade feature called Two’s A Crowd, a dark comedy in which the tensions between housemates take a violent turn for the worse. Hence the fact that the protagonist Alex, a writer, spends quite a lot of the film working on a screenplay which you may notice has the title Two’s A Crowd (the pages we used on set were indeed taken directly from my own script).
What the scripts have in common is the sense of a domestic situation gradually unravelling and spiralling out of control. The domestic situation in Two’s A Crowd was the sparring between housemates and their partners, something of which I have endless experience. For Death Sentence I decided to write about a married couple, superficially a less volatile dynamic, though some of the sexual ambiguity and longing that runs through Two’s A Crowd starts to emerge in the cracks of Alex and Samantha’s disintegrating relationship as the story progresses. I also have plenty of experience of the mutual annoyance created by a writer ‘just finishing one scene’ while a partner wants attention or even just some help with the shopping. In fact, it wasn’t until I showed the finished film to my partner, who watched it unfold with increasing paranoia, that I realised how many situations and even lines of dialogue I had ‘borrowed’ from my own relationship.
Hopefully the similarities between my life and the film I have made end there. But I’ve hidden all the knives to be on the safe side.
James Lark, May 2014
(click on images to download high-res file)
A trailer and production diaries will soon be up here to show you what sort of film it is, not to mention the sorts of things we went through to make it. In the meantime here’s a few glimpses of what it was like in a nutshell: