A Chat With Keith Fulton
"The bleakest point along this stretch of coast is arguably L'Estrange Head, a natural feature lying between the summer resorts of Hunstanton and Sheringham."
--Brian Aldiss, Brothers of the Head (1977)
On the Author, the Illustrator, and the Location
Click here for part one
Fennessy: Were you familiar with Brian Aldiss before Tony Grisoni wrote this script?
Fulton: Actually, I wasn't, no. Tony mentioned the book to me and Lou, because the three of us wanted to do a project together, and Tony had tried to option it, I think like 20 years ago. He got a free option on it, but wasn't ever able to do anything with it. The script, by the way, wasn't written when this project was financed.
Fennessy: Tony just had the idea in mind?
Fulton: Tony, Lou, and I went around pitching it and actually got the financing based on a pitch, which is a hard thing to do.
Fennessy: I didn't realize that. I thought that some version of it had existed... Does that mean that Tony, because he's the only one with a screenwriting credit--
Fulton: Yes, he is.
Fennessy: But was he affected by things that you and Lou said?
Fulton: Yeah, the three of us developed it together. I mean, the first thing we did together before Tony had even started writing was we took a trip to Norfolk to this town called Blakeny--which is where the twins are meant to have come from--and we stayed at a little house there that Tony had rented, a vacation house. And we just took long drives and walks around this area and just got all kinds of inspiration for the story, like we chose the house that the twins grew up in.
Fennessy: The house is great. Are the interiors--were those sets?
Fulton: No, it was actually shot in the house, which is a very hard place to get to, because when we were up there--anywhere we would walk--we would see this house looming on the horizon and we were just dying to figure out how you would get to it, but we had to find somebody who had a boat. The few times a day that you can get out there are the two high tides a day.
Fennessy: So all your equipment came to the house in a boat?
Fulton: Yeah, in boats. [laughs]
Fennessy: My God.
Fulton: It was ridiculous, actually. We got stuck out there...
Fennessy: I went to Amazon to see if the book was in print. I was glad to see it was.
Fulton: In print? But it's only in print in England, right?
Fennessy: Amazon is listing it, but I should have looked more closely to see the details. If it's not in print, maybe people were selling used copies--very few.
[Just to confirm, it's in print.]
Fulton: Used copies are very hard to find these days.
[I think he's referring to the illustrated edition.]
Fulton: We bought them all up.
Fennessy: Did you, really? Is it going to come back, if it's really out of print?
Fulton: IFC is trying to make some kind of deal to get the book back.
[Doesn't look like this has happened yet.]
Fennessy: I want to read it, especially with the description of it as a novella with illustrations--that caught my attention. It's not a graphic novel?
Fulton: It's not a graphic novel in today's definition of the term, but it's got really great illustrations. Ian Pollock was the illustrator.
Fennessy: The name sounds familiar.
Fulton: He's done a lot of stuff. He did a graphic novel of King
Lear, which is pretty well known. [He's] a really good illustrator.
Fennessy: It's interesting that it [Brothers of the
Head] is from 1977. So he [Aldiss] really was, I'm as-
suming, kind of looking at the punk scene in England...
Fennessy: No? Isn't punk in the book?
Fulton: No, in the book it doesn't specify the type of music.
Fennessy: You say in the press notes that it was more like Led Zeppelin.
Fennessy: That's pretty different. In the book, if they're more hard rock, does that mean they were reaching bigger audiences than what we see in the movie?
Fulton: In the book they were meant to become quite famous, whereas we thought it would be more interesting if they never quite broke. You know, they were just at the moment where they were maybe gonna go somewhere and then it all comes crashing down. We wanted to make the tragedy as painful as possible. [laughs]
Next up: On the Music, the Screenplay, and the Cinematography