laverty-ryan-and-jessQ: What about Ryan and Jess, Eric’s stepsons?

A. With Lily the film looks both to the past and the present. With the boys, and their daughter Sam, the narrative projects forwards. I hope it helps balance the story. I worked out Eric’s relationship in some detail with his second partner Chrisie, but¬† little appears in the screenplay and even less in the film. Cinema has its own iron discipline and we usually only have two hours to play with.¬† As a result a great deal must be implied, but that too must be coherent.

Eric is particularly loyal to his step-sons, given the conditions. We had to cut several scenes because they were just too long, but in one exchange between Eric and Lily, the latter says they were ‘not your kids.’ Eric responds sharply, ‘Yes they are…the day Chrisie walked out I promised them both I’d look after them…no matter what. Maybe I was trying to make up for Sam…’

When we join Eric he feels he has turned into a doormat and doesn’t have the strength to confront them. In addition, the outside world comes flooding through the letter box and sweeps into the living room. Where we live changes our lives, and parents are just one element in the mix.

Gun culture has blighted some communities in Manchester and I spoke to some wonderfully creative and determined parents there who were trying to change things. Can you imagine the shock a mother feels when she discovers her teenage son is wearing a bullet proof vest? Or someone is shot dead because of a perceived insult?  I also have a very close friend Stevie Sklair who lived many years in Brixton. His insight and experiences too were precious and helped enormously when I came to write the script.

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