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Prairie Rascals

It’s time to announce a new Bonehill Films production. Making Gwenevere over the past couple of years has been one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done, so we’re going to try our luck in another genre which combines wild landscapes, dressing up, and a cavalier attitude to historical accuracy. We’re making a Western. Of course, most Westerns are filmed in America, and ours will be filmed in Devon, which might seem to put us at a considerable disadvantage. But our local bit of Devon looks like this… …and I think we can turn it into America with this one simple trick: (Banjo music intensifies.) Actually, I like the audacity of pretending Dartmoor is the Old West, and we’ll be joining in a time-honoured tradition - the first ever Western was filmed in Blackburn , and I remember my grandad telling me how as a boy he watched actors dressed as cowboys and Indians making films in Brighton, probably before the Great War.  Our film will be a hard-hitting tale of wrongdoing and revenge ca
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Thunder City

This September Scholastic will be publishing my new novel set in the world of Mortal Engines . Here’s the cover, created (like all the others in the series) by Ian McQue . The rule I set for myself when I was writing this one was that it shouldn’t feature any of the people or places from previous Mortal Engines books. So  Thunder Cit y takes place just over a century before the original book, when the town-eat-town world of Traction Cities is slightly less ruthless than it will become later, and none of the characters from the original quartet has even been born yet. (I suppose Mr Shrike must be bimbling about somewhere, but he’s still just yer basic implacable killing machine at this point so there’s not much point in paying him a visit). So hopefully this new take will be accessible to people who’ve never read Mortal Engines , and hopefully people who have read it will enjoy an adventure set in the same world. My pen and ink drawing of the Traction City of Thorbury,  after a painti

Tolkien Drawings

 The year has got off to a slow start here because I’ve been poorly, so I’ve started illustrating The Lord of the Rings (as you do). The idea is to do drawings of the bits that don’t usually get illustrated (or that I haven’t seen many pictures of, at least). My favourite parts of the book are the early chapters about the Shire, Bree, and Eriador , so I may just concentrate on those, though maybe I’ll venture further for a bit of variety. I doubt I could manage the big cities and battles in the later parts, but who knows, maybe my penmanship will improve with practise.  Here are the elf towers on the Tower Hills: The Last Bridge over the River Hoarwell… The road from Hobbiton to Buckland… And a random hobbit lady feeding her chickens. More to come, though productivity will probably drop off because I have Actual Work on now, and a new small film to plan. Announcements about both next week.

More Movies

 I don’t have much to write about at the moment (though a new book announcement should be coming soon) so here are yet more small reviews of films I’ve enjoyed lately. Sam was home again for a week or so, unexpectedly, so it’s been pretty much a movie per night here, the usual mix of old favourites and random stuff we spotted on streaming services. Killers of the Flower Moon (Martin Scorsese, 2023) I liked this a lot. We split it over two nights (don’t tell Thelma Schoonmaker) but I could have happily watched it in a single three hour sitting, it was very immersive. What it immerses you in is a strange 1920s world about which I knew nothing, of oil-rich Osage and the white settlers who prey on them for their new-found wealth. It’s rich and rambling and finely textured and very dark.Lily Gladstone is great, I hope we see more of her. Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert de Niro both seem a bit old for the parts they play, but they’re fine performances and I guess Scorsese wanted to work with t

Festive Films

When my son Sam is home for the holidays we watch a film most nights, so I thought I’d make a list of the best ones we saw this Christmas. It’s mostly for my own reference, but if you’re looking for something to watch you might find a recommendation here. They’re a very mixed bag - some classics Sam hadn’t seen, some things we stumbled on by accident, and a few old favourites. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny  (James Mangold, 2023) I gather the reviews were mixed, but this turned out to be just the thing for keeping three generations of Reeves entertained after a heavy Christmas dinner. I don’t have any affection for the original Indiana Jones films, so I didn’t feel it was trampling on my memories of the originals, or failing to live up to them. It bangs on a bit too long, and James Mangold is no Spielberg (who is?) but it delivers plenty of inventive chases through exotic locations, before taking a startling left turn in Act Three which I really enjoyed. Definitely worth a look

Gwenevere: Screenplay and Storyboards

  Poster by Sarah McIntyre I didn’t really approach Gwenevere as a writing project. It was the practical side that appealed to me - finding the costumes and locations, making props, and actually shooting the thing. But before any of that can happen there needed to be a screenplay, and nobody else was going to write one for me, so I set to work.  I’d decided to go for an Arthurian story while watching loads of Arthurian films and TV shows for this blog a few years ago. Historical but not demanding historical accuracy, often silly yet still deeply serious, they felt like something we might be able to achieve on our pocket-money budget. Once that decision was made, the writing process went something like this: 1. I can’t adapt an actual Arthurian tale because I can’t afford loads of knights and battles and a round table… 2. So what if it’s a film about women? That would be a bit different, and frocks are cheaper than armour… 3. Who’s the first female character who springs to mind when

Bonehill Films Presents: Gwenevere

Poster by Sarah McIntyre  The time has come to unleash Gwenevere upon an unsuspecting world (though the bit of the world that reads this blog won’t be that unsuspecting, because I’ve been banging on about it for ages). You can find it here on the Bonehill Films YouTube channel . Christmas feels like a good time for Arthurian tales - it’s how Gawain and the Green Knight begins, with Arthur and his knights telling stories around the Round Table while the snow piles up outside. So I’ve decided to release Gwenevere on Christmas Eve, in the hope that people will find time to watch it over the holiday period.  Ever since Sarah Reeve and I started this project, people have been asking what it’s for . Well, it’s for the same reason I act in the local panto or Sarah sings with her choir: because it’s nice to get together with other people and make something - hopefully something that’s entertaining. We’re not trying to break into the movie business, or even the independent short film scene.