I can now give you that exciting news I promised you. In 2013 I wrote a TV Pilot for a BBC One screen writing competition, based on my very first book, Cassandra by Starlight. This was book one in a series I called Starlight. It was inspired by my man crush, Benedict Cumberbatch. The story revolves around an up and coming actor called Bennett Saville, and the love of his life, Cassie Wallace, who is ten years older than him.
The screenplay working title was called Reel Life. I revamped it, based on what I’d learnt writing scripts with Nicholas Down, (with Sight Unseen) and submitted it to the Oaxaca Film Festival, a well-respected and well-known festival out of Mexico. It’s been running now over nine years.
Reel Life got selected for the festival 😊
Out of the thousands of projects that were submitted this year, less than 5% make the cut, so as a newbie scriptwriter, I’m very proud of this accomplishment.
“Reel Life” is a FINALIST and will be competing with other projects in the category of TV Pilots.
It will also be competing for the main award of the 2018 Global Script Challenge: Best Overall Script. (This is weird because of another reason I’ll tell you about in a little while 😊)
This comes at an auspicious time because a few months ago I decided it was time for this trilogy to be completed and the third and final book in the series, Forever in Starlight, is out on 30th August. At that time, I hadn’t even thought of submitting the screenplay I did so many years ago. So I’m hoping this is a good omen. It all feels a little surreal, though. Who knew?
Bear with me on this blog post, and I will come to point of the title in a little while…
It will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me that I started writing ‘Cassandra by Starlight’ because I had the hots for Benedict Cumberbatch and the only way anything was going to happen in that arena was if I cloned him.
I’m no scientist so that was unfortunately not an option. However, the next best thing to having divine Cumberbatch cells cultivating in a petri dish, or the man himself being replicated in some futuristic cloning machine just for my own personal pleasure, was to create a fictional character modelled on him so I could have my evil way with him. *shivers at that thought*
Enter Bennett Devon Saville. (See what I did there –the name?) Thirty seven years old, debonair, sexy, auburn haired, green eyed, laconic, sophisticated, hot as hell London actor and thespian. With loads of money to boot. And a red Jaguar XKR convertible. In short, ladies and gentlemen, my hottest fantasy come true. Now I know there are people who know me out there rolling their eyes and tut-tutting in sheer resignation as I express these base desires. Sorry, chaps. I’ve never kept it a secret and it makes me a little sad but I’m prepared to suffer the consequences.
Now, it’s a little difficult to get down and dirty with a fictional character, however tasty they may be. There’s only one way to do that. You have to create another fictional character to take up the slack you yourself can’t get to grips with. And so Cassie Wallace, age forty seven, was born. Well she had to be my age, didn’t she, so the fantasy could play itself out in the most realistic way possible. And the two characters meet, like the look of each other, go to dinner, have a night of passionate, steaming sex and the rest – you’ll have to read the book to find out.
And now we get to the crux of the matter on the whole ‘older woman, younger man’ affair. There’s a ten year age gap between these two. Bennett is man who needs a little stability in his crazy, show business life. He finds Cassie’s maturity, her outlook on life, her calming presence and her feistiness a real attraction. Cassie finds Bennett sexy, attentive, willing to overlook the age gap, and downright horny for her. What woman in her right mind wouldn’t want this in a man?
I’ve read various posts and articles about the allure for these types of relationships.
The man likes it because
• The woman is self-assured
• She has life and sexual experience
• She has faced her insecurities
• She may have money
• Some men aren’t looking for long term commitment and think this is a way to get that
The woman likes it because
• She has a younger man on her arm, one who may physically be in better shape than an older one
• They have stamina
• They’re in their prime
• He makes her feel younger
• Some women aren’t looking for long term commitment and think this is a way to get that
There are countless reasons these couples may be attracted to each other. It’s not all about the older ‘Cougar’ going out to nab a man so she can showcase him on her arm like eye candy. But it’s a perfectly valid reason for some. And hell, if you can do it, why the heck not.
Bennett simply finds Cassie attractive –she’s a curvy size 16, but goes to gym, is a beautiful, mature woman who takes care of herself and has a sex drive to meet his (which is pretty rampant). He loves the fact she’s a self-made business woman, intelligent, sexy and grounded.
Cassie finds Bennett extremely attractive, attentive, suave, intelligent and funny. He’s a man who has a lot of ambition, the drive to get him there and he can take charge when she needs him to- both in and out the bedroom. He’s also warm and loving and protective.
Devoted Fan or Crazy stalker- Where does ‘celebrity’ end and ‘privacy’ begin?
In my book, Cassandra by Starlight, the hero, Bennett Saville, finds himself eerily stalked by someone as he travels around the world in his profession as an actor. He encounters them at the theatre he owns, outside the film studios he works in, in the garage basement where he parks his car, in his hotel room in Paris when he’s there for an Awards ceremony, and when he’s with Cassie in Venice. The result of this is a very violent and intrusive sexual abuse event that leaves him vulnerable and traumatised. The man is forcibly restrained and raped by a woman.
(I’m not getting into this old chestnut here though, that’s not what this blog post is about. If you want to see my views on this, check out the Rape Posts on my other blog at http://www.susanmacnicol.com)
As a celebrity you are used to a certain amount of public adoration, curiosity and downright nosiness. It’s the price one pays for being in the public eye. But lately, things appear to have been spiralling out of control with people thinking they have a right to ‘own’ celebrities and broadcast anything they do to all and sundry.
Take this case below for example. Actor Benedict Cumberbatch was ‘cyber stalked’ a while ago with a close neighbour tweeting about everything he was doing in the comfort of his own home. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9925578/Sherlock-star-Benedict-Cumberbatch-is-cyberstalked.html
Now as a Cumberbatch fan girl myself, I can understand the interest in the man; but this is just downright creepy and dangerous. The man is in his home, for God’s sake. He has every right to expect privacy. God forbid he was doing something he shouldn’t, like having a Roman orgy. While I’m sure there are plenty of fans who’d like to be a fly on the wall for that one, even participate in it, that’s not really how things work. What someone does in their own home is entirely their business and shouldn’t be subject to public consumption.
There are even apps you can get like Gawker Stalker that track celebrities movements on a map. I’m not promoting the use of these in any way, but they are out there and if you are a serious fan or stalker, you’d know more about them already than I do. http://gawker.com/160338/introducing-gawker-stalker-maps
There’s one called Starspotter that ‘is perfectly designed to find your much loved celebrities, events and gossip in real-time, closer to your location or anywhere you travel in the world. StarSpotter captures your favorite celebrities, politicians, musicians, athletes and models on the go in your pocket http://www.mediabistro.com/appnewser/starspotter-app-takes-celebrity-stalking-to-the-next-level_b33250
A property website in New York , Rentenna, has a new ‘feature’ for their site – “Find Your Celebrity Neighbor.” You register/login, type in your address, and a list of nearby celebs pops up, with links to their Wikipedia bios.
Here in the UK we even have our first-ever National Stalking Clinic, based at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield, north London. It rehabilitates stalkers and tries to get them out of the mindset they find themselves in by fixating on another person and causing ruin not only to their own lives as a stalker, but to the ‘stalkee’ as well. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/feb/17/how-to-rehabilitate-a-stalker
And new legislation has even had to be passed to manage this ever growing threat. As of 25th November 2012 amendments to the Protection from Harassment Act have been made that makes stalking a specific offence in England and Wales for the first time. http://www.stalkinghelpline.org/faq/about-the-law/
With all of this going on, how are celebrities supposed to protect themselves against the ever present threat of not only a physical stalker, but a cyber-stalker? I can assure you cyber-stalking is an easy pit to fall into. I see it every day when I’m online. I see tweets and information passing cyber hands and I sometimes wonder, “Has this one maybe crossed the line or am I just being too bloody hardnosed? Give the man/woman a break and leave them alone, just for a moment.”
Most fandoms and fan bases are very protective of their chosen celebrities. They would never step over the line and infringe on the person’s privacy. They tend to get extremely upset with people when they do, as is the case with the Cumberbatch fandom. They cut people off if they feel uncomfortable; send them to ‘virtual’ Coventry. But there are still unscrupulous people out there who don’t see what they do as an invasion of privacy but more of a right.
I suppose there are two schools of thought –
He/She is a celebrity. They chose to be famous so they should just shut up and live with it. If they don’t like it, they shouldn’t have got famous in the first place. They whinge when we don’t talk about them, they whinge when we do. What the hell do they want? They are a public figure – they have no rights to privacy and if it means I sit in a tree overlooking their front yard and snap pictures, or spy on them through the window, that’s fine. If I want to tell the world where they are, what they’re doing, who they’re with, how many times they picked their nose and where they’re going next – let me.
He/She is a celebrity. They worked hard to be famous (most anyway, some are just undeservedly catapulted into it by the advent of cheesy reality TV shows but that’s another blog post and I expect a lot of hate mail when I put that one up) and they expect a certain amount of public acknowledgement and recognition. But they are also private human beings and deserve their privacy when in a private environment, a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy like with a partner or family member in a quiet restaurant, or in the gym, or quietly watching a film in a cinema.
The question is – which one are you?