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Q&A with Writer/Director Ol Parker
(Page 1 , Page 3, Page 4, Page 5 , Page 6 )
(I'll gradually be adding Ol's responses to this page)

hi ol,
i really like the movie, i think its mostly the characters that you wrote that make the movie, even though as you say, the situations are highly unlikely. i have one question, which you can undoubtedly dismiss, but i hope you are kind enough to give me an honest answer. why are the two michaels identical? in the commentary you state that you wanted them to be identical, so i'm assuming i'm correct in expecting the two michaels to be symbolic. is this perhaps a reference to freud and narcissism? if so why did u chose to make this reference?
best of luck,
karla (orange california)
 

Hey Karla

Thanks for writing, it's good to read your words.  And thanks for your question, which I wouldn't dream of dismissing.  Although the answer is pretty simple.  A gay friend of mine is called Michael, as is his long-term partner, and so when it came to naming the two characters in the wood, I thought it would be a nice homage to their excellent relationship.  And also I wanted something to make Rachel laugh even more at the absurdity of the situation she was in.  And when it came to casting the two actors ... I just felt that since their names were interchangeable, so should everything else be.  So we found two lovely young actors - the first gig for both of them - and I could never remember which one was which Michael, which kind of proved the point.  So while I did study Freud - as it seems you have - he had very little to do with this casting choice. 

Thanks again Karla.  Best of luck to you too, Ol


Ol –

Late Sunday night I clicked onto the website and was annoyed that there appeared to be no change in the letters. The first letter sounded so familiar. I thought I had read it before from the numerous letters already written. Well, of course, I had read it before. It was my own letter! I was delighted you found the time to reply. Thank you. After Chapter 12, page 947 of my previous letter, I actually had forgotten to ask you about the 2 men to whom you dedicated this movie. Who are or who were they?

What project (s) are you working on at the moment ?.

Thank you, once again.

Arlene (from New York)

Hey Arlene

Thanks for writing again.  It was a pleasure to answer your question, as it is this one.  The two men to whom the movie is dedicated are Malcom Sheehan, who I never met, and Rod Hall, who I knew well.  Malcom was going to be the grip for the movie, and died in a tragic accident the week before we started shooting.  He had many friends on the crew, and from their stories I was very sorry not to have had the chance to work and hang out with him.  It's tradition on films who have lost someone during the production to dedicate the film to that person, and although that wasn't strictly the case in this instance, as we hadn't properly begun, I was happy and proud to promise his friends that we would honour that tradition.  And Rod was my agent and close friend since I started doing this.  He came to my first play, he did my first deal - for 'Loved Up'', as it happens - and he would have been beyond thrilled to be on my first set.  But he died a few months earlier; too soon, too young.  And so the film, as with all the others I will ever write or make, is dedicated to his memory.

As for what I'm up to now, as mentioned earlier, I'm on strike.  But before that I was writing a Tom Hanks movie for Dreamworks.   And someday I will be again ...

Take it easy, Arlene.  All best, Ol


Dear Ol,
Thank you so much for the wonderful IMAY!  Everything about it is amazing!  The story, the actors, the characters, the chemistry, the dialog, the setting, etc,etc,etc.
I think the title is perfect. Throughout the movie you feel both ladies had these thoughts in their minds. And of course,  to end it with the song made it all the more extraordinary!
My question.  Are you going to be making more beautiful movies like this one?
Thanks again
Di from L.A.

Hello Di

Thank you for being so kind about the movie, it's very much appreciated.  Actually just you watching it is very much appreciated, let alone liking it and writing.

As for the answer to your question, I have no idea whether I'll ever get to make another movie again, let alone one like the last.  Since 'Imagine Me and You' I've been lucky enough to be offered some American movies to rewrite and/or direct, some of which were great, but I didn't really feel they were right for me.  I think the next film I direct will be one that I've originated, so it's down to me to write a script good enough that some fool will give me money.  For the last few months I've been writing a film for Tom Hanks, which has been something of a trip.  But now, owing to the strike, I've had to stop working on it, which is profoundly frustrating, albeit self-evidently the right thing to do.  So things for me, as for all writers and the many others affected, are on hold.  Which makes for an odd time.

But sooner or later they'll pay us what they owe us, or some of it anyway, and I'll be back at work. And if I ever do get near to calling action again, then the nerves I'll feel will be hugely helped your generosity, and that of everyone else who's written.  And I promise to work with as many of the same people as I can, and to try to make a film you like just as much.  Thanks, Di.  All the best, Ol


hi ol
I have to admit to not seeing this film but I'm interested in seeing Loved Up. Do you know where I can obtain a a copy ? I'm writing a story myself, first time around, and am not sure whether to keep it in book-form or turn it into a screenplay. It's set in 70's Manchester with a magical realism thread to it. I'm hoping it gets an airing somewhere somehow but as I have confidence in it, I'm prepared to hawk it round when I've finished it. Can you recommend a practical script-writing book or five ? Hey I read that your dad's Peter Parker, ex-British Rail chief, but is that your namesake as I know your dad's J Parker ?
Best Wishes
Geena

Hi Geena, NIce of you to write, and don't worry about not seeing the film, most of my friends haven't either.  They've all seen Loved Up though, because they were in it, shuffling around behind the lead actors in varying states of decay.  Cheaper than extras, they were, if not as well behaved.  I'm afraid I don't know where you can get a copy, apart from ebay, where someone told me it was quite pricey.  I know I haven't got one, so if you do find somewhere it's available, then let me know as well.

As for your story, why not do both?  Book and film.  They're not mutually exclusive.  Alex Garland is one guy who adapts his own work for page and screen.  Neil Jordan another.  Actually, now that I think about it, there are loads.  And if it's practical books you're after ... I don't know.  I'm not really your guy.  I looked at Syd Field once in a shop, and I couldn't get through the first chapter of Robert McKee.  But they're the two big screenwriting gurus, and they work for many people, so maybe for you too.  I do earnestly recommend that you read William Goldman's 'Adventures in the Screen Trade', which is a little more personal and less practical, but absolutely seminal nonetheless.  But in the end, you learn by doing, so just keep writing.  And good luck, let me know how you get on.

Oh, and that's not my dad.  It's Olly's.  Seems like a lovely man.

All best to you Geena, and thanks for writing. Ol


Dear Mr Parker

Thank you very much for replying to my questions the answers were perfect. Sorry to disturb you again I just have 3 more questions that I just want to ask you

1st question in the flower shop scene when Rachel invites Luce to dinner did cause when she wants  to give her address Rachel walk and Luce moves Away was that  a push or not?

2nd question how long was Heck and Rachel Married For?

3rd question did Rachel take her wedding rings off at the end when they are sitting on the bench?

Sorry it’s a lot of questions
I really enjoy this movie
Thank You

From PJ

South Africa

Hey PJ

Good to hear from you again.  And don't stress, ask as many questions as you want.  And I will try and fail to answer them ...

1.  Luce moving away from Rachel in the flower shop was a bit of typically lovely acting from Lena.  We'd talked in rehearsal about how when you love someone, it's like there's a forcefield of attraction around them, that draws you in physically.  (Which is what happens to both of them later, incidentally, in the scene where H does her speech about space).  But in this scene they've barely met, and Rachel is married, so Luce is protecting herself, instinctively keeping a slight distance between herself and Rachel, literally and figuratively.

2.  I think we decided the action of the film took place over about six weeks/two months.  Not the longest marriage in the world.  But sadly, not the shortest either.

3.  Yes, the ring is off.  As is Heck's on the plane.  The marriage is over, and they'll both be happier for it.

There you go, PJ.  All best to you, and I'm really glad you enjoyed the movie.  Ol

 
Hey Ol,

First of all I want to thank you for making ‘Imagine me and you’, it’s so lovely, funny, cute… really amazing…

It wasn’t released in theaters here in Perú, but I had the chance to see it with a group of friends a couple of weeks ago. I love everything about it, the writing, the music, the characters, the chemistry between the actors, especially Piper and Lena… all my friends(boys and girls) have fallen in love with Lena and I have this huge crush on her and it’s all your fault for writing Luce so perfectly (hehe)… seriously, she is so talented, I hope you work with her again, you both make a great team!

I’m 20 and I’ve been writing since I was 15, but I have this thing… I can’t finish a story… I always write like 60 or 70 pages and then I get this huge writer’s block and I can find a way to continue… what would you do? Any advice for a wanna be writer?

One of my favorite scenes is when Rachel goes to the flowershop for the first time, I noticed the way Luce looks at her (…at that we were all ‘awww’), was that scripted?

Thanks,
Sarah from Perú

* Sorry about my english, I know it sucks… I hope you understand everything.

Hello Sarah from Peru

Your english is superb, my friend, and your kindness is much appreciated.   I'm totally chuffed the movie got to Peru in any shape or form.   And it's nice to think that Lena has conquered that part of South America too, along with the rest of the world.

I think you're afraid of finishing, is why you're hitting a wall at page 70.  Either that or because the ideas have stopped coming, but if it happens regularly at that point, then it's fear.  No one can really judge you on something unfinished, but as soon as you show it to someone with the last full-stop typed, then you're really putting your head over the parapet, asking to be judged.  And that's a scary place to be.  I still haven't got used to it.  But the only advice is to push on through it.  Stop thinking about the bigger picture, just get your head down and press on.  Write something, anything, it doesn't have to be good.  But once it's there you can make it better.  And once you've done that, then you'll look up and realise that you're through your block.  

Anne Lammott tells this story about when she was a child.  Her younger brother had a school project to do over the holidays, to colour in all the birds on this chart.  And of course he'd completely failed to do it.  So the night before term starts he's sitting at the kitchen table, staring at this huge uncoloured chart, weeping at the enormity of the task ahead.  And their dad goes and sits next to him, puts his arm around his shoulders, and says "Just take it bird by bird, buddy.  Bird by bird."

And that is what I say to you about writing.  Take each script one page at a time, each page one line at a time, etc.  And before you know it, you'll have got somewhere.

As for that bit in the shop, no it wasn't scripted.  It was discussed in rehearsal, and then heartbreakingly beautifully acted, but never written.  And yet I get to take the credit.  And get mails like that from you.  it's all good.

Hope that answers your questions, Sarah from Peru.  And thanks again.  All best, Ol


I am pleased to find there is a way to communicate my thoughts to you on your film "Imagine.". It must seem like "ancient history" to you now, however, the film only appeared over 1 week end on HBO in May. I am older than "God" but for many years, ran women's groups concerning women's issues as well as love and the gay lifestyle. I shouted for joy and told my colleagues about how you avoided the ever-present stereotypes about gays. It was a joy to behold not only the love between the main characters of Rachel and Luce handled so intelligently, but the loving relationships of Luce and her mother, Luce and "H", the friction-filled, yet loving relationship between Rachel's parents, as well as what turned out to be a strong, friendly love between Rachel and Heck.

There were a number of "themes" running through this lovely film "vehicle." Did you intend for that question "H" asked to be the underlying main theme of your movie: I can only paraphrase it: "What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?" It brought to mind a song Sammy Davis, Jr., sang a number of years ago wherein the answer was "somethings got to give." The unstoppable force meaning "Love" and the "Object" personified or embodied by Rachel being her loyalty to Heck due to society's mores. 

Another constant in this film, as in life, it seemed was that we are in a given place in time for a reason. We might not know what it is or even be comfortable in that place at that moment, but in time we hopefully realize there is cause. The theme began with Luce sitting next to H at the wedding asking herself, "why am I here?"  It concluded with Heck finally going to write his travel book he spoke about...

I did read your answer to another fan regarding the reason for Luce being outside in the rain after that dinner. I wondered why a first-time guest would simply pick herself up from her hosts, grab someone's umbrella and venture to another place in their home, and be outside in the pouring rain besides! You explained that the weather did not cooperate and that Piper and Lena "winged it."

You have a wonderful wit and excellent dialogue for each of your characters. That's most difficult but you pulled it off. Celia Imrie's  lines and her delivery were quick, "off the wall" and very funny: (i.e. "George's Bush"?..and her complaint about Coop, who would "shag an open wound..) H's answer to Luce, who was trying to explain her future with a woman not a man, was lovely and touching and humerous when she said she understood because she would prefer living with her best friend..Clever, very clever.

Yes, there were editing "goofs" such as how Luce's jumper would mysteriously open and close during their "roll in the roses.", or not having a camera focus on certain expressions...But overall, I found your script touching and sweet and good enough to be able to put any "mistakes" you felt you made or budgetary problems to the side. Congratulations on a beautiful little film.

I recommended the film to colleagues at the University I dealt with for a long time and to some of my previous group members. They are both gay and straight. They all loved the film 

Just one note, Ol, when you were asked (again I paraphrase) whether you found this scenario "ideal,"  you stated that it was ideal because, after all, they are "all gorgeous." I wish you had possibly not said that. It infers to me how could they be gay and be beautiful? I'm sure you know gays who are attractive. I do. You also stated it was ideal because the parents were all in accord. But they really were not "all" in accord. Rachel's mother was not happy about the arrangement and voiced her opinion often. 

Another fan asked you about being able to get "Loved Up." It is virtually impossible. I e-mailed the BBC and they responded that they will keep it under advisement but have no thoughts on distributing it. Fortunately, one of the websites for Lena and Piper has some clips.

I did send a letter mentioning much the same as the above-noted plus my congrats on her excellent ability to "become" the role. I had not known of any of you prior to seeing the movie, wrote the "fan" letter, and then had to "go by way of Chicago" as the saying goes to get it to her. Hopefully she will enjoy the note. 

Thank you for tolerating this long-winded tale. I had been told to go with my feeling on a subject close to my heart and studies and send a  "fan" letter for the first time in my life....Thanks for the opportunity to thank you for a lovely, well-meaning film. 

Arlene from New York.

Hey Arlene

Thanks for your long and thoughtful letter, I much appreciate you taking the time.  I did indeed intend for H's question to be at the heart of the movie.  As you say, the underlying theme.  You try and hide this stuff, not whack the audience over the head, which is why it's one of about fifteen questions H asks.  But yes, it is the most important one in this film, I think.  Plus I thought Luce was smart for knowing the answer.  And it gave Heck a nice goodbye line to his wife.

I'm sorry that you took my comment that one way in which the film was slightly idealized is the utter gorgeousness of the cast to mean that I don't think it's possible to be beautiful and gay.  I can hope no one else made that inference, since as a statement it would self-evidently be nonsense.  All my gay friends are hotter than I am.  I just meant that everyone in the cast is so utterly beautiful - Ben Miles, for example, who plays Matt's boss, is a sickeningly handsome man.  As is Tony Head.  Celia is gorgeous.  Eva is stunning.  They're all scrummy.   And the sun (nearly) always shines.  And the main couple live in an apartment far larger than they could afford, etc etc.  And as for the parents, and even Heck's reception of Rachel's new relationship, the ones that have a problem initially do come around pretty fast ... maybe optimistic is a better word than idealized, to describe the world in which I set the movie.  Anyway,  I hope that clears up any confusion.

Thanks again for writing, Arlene, and for recommending the film to others.  You're very kind.  All the best, Ol



Hello - like many, I did really enjoy Imagine Me and You. It is a very romantic movie, and for those of us who are gay, we have gone through a process much like Rachel's. I really like Heck and his character, and I thought him getting hurt must have been very hard on Rachel and Luce, I found that part very sad. It sounds like in a way he always knew that he loved her more than she loved him.

I did have a question - in the flash forward scenes at the end of the movie, where did that baby come from that Coop was with? What was that about? I must have missed a hint earlier. I was curious why you didn't flash forward with the parents, I wondered if Luce's mother was still dating or if Rachel's mother was able to treat her father with any less contempt. I wonder if their relationship was why Rachel didn't understand that she wasn't in love with Heck.

I do hope to see more movies from you in the future, and especially as a lesbian, I appreciate this one from you very much.

Thanks very much,
Tracy

Hey Tracy

Thanks for writing, and I dig your question.  And I'm glad you felt sorry for Heck.  Neither Matt nor I ever had any interest in making him be the third wheel, easily dumped from the movie as well as the heroine's life.  But I did and do believe that he'll be happier (eventually) without Rachel.  Living in fear is only half a life.

As for Coop and the baby ... I'm actually trying to remember.  Oh, I've got it.  There was a bit in the scene in the pub with Matt, straight after he says 'come to mine for pizza', or something like that, where he starts to tell Heck all about the Italian girl that delivers the pizzas, for whom he has something of a hard spot.  And then in the original version of the coda scene with him and the baby - I loved that kid, by the way - he was talking Italian to her, so you knew that he'd hooked up with the pizza girl.  But then we cut the bit from the scene in the pub, because it was really a scene about Heck, and my bad writing was preventing that from coming through.  And then at some point during the edit the coda became less a bunch of separate scenes and more of a musical montage - H and her boyfriend originally had lines on the roundabout as well - and so we took out the Italian speaking, which would've made even less sense, and dubbed him in singing.  So now he just has a baby, with no explanation of whose it is.  But I still thought it was cute, and worth the slight confusion to see Cooper wising up, loving something more than himself.

As for why the parents aren't there, I did have a scene, but we didn't have the time or money to film it.  But I also felt that their story was pretty much finished when they kissed by the car - they're going to be fine- so we didn't necessarily need to see them.  It would've been nice, of course, because it's always a pleasure to see Celia and Tony, especially being happy.  But I didn't and don't miss it too much.

Hope that satisfies you, Tracy.  And thanks again.  All the best, Ol

Mr. Parker,
 
Wow! First of all, I would like to say that I absolutely love the movie Imagine Me and You. It's one of my favorite movies now. I also love the jacket that Luce wears in the movie and I was wondering what kind of material it is. I would be eternally grateful if you could tell me. 
I was wondering if there was any way that I could contact Lena. It would mean the world to me. I'm interested in her views on certain topics and I would love to get her opinion. Plus I must say...she's my hero. If you can't help me get in touch with her, can you at least tell her that she's a great person and that she will always be a role model of mine? Thank you for your time and such a great movie.
 
Sincerely,
Ambere Riggs

Hi Ambere, 

Thanks for writing, asking things, you're very kind.  While I can't give you Lena's address, I am more than happy to tell you that she is everything you would want her to be, and I could wish no better hero or role model for you.  Although I believe you now get the chance to tell her this herself; apparently she hung out with the Webmaster recently, and agreed to answer some questions, so fire away, ask her about whatever topics you want.  Maybe she knows who made that jacket, but I'm really sorry to tell you I have no clue.  I saw Consolata, our costume designer, recently as well, and she said she had some questions to answer too, so maybe you should add yours to that pile.  I hope she can help you, thank you again, and wish you all the best.  Ol


Hello Ol,
 I fell in love with Imagine Me and You from the very first moment I watched the
trailer,I can't thank you enough for making this movie!I was wondering-and
hoping-is there going to be a sequel?Have you thought about it?
Thanks again,Sofia-Greece

Hi Sofia

Kind as it is of you, you really don't have to thank me for making the movie, I had a ball doing it. 
It's me who has to thank you, and everyone else who writes.  The answer to your question is that
I'm not planning on writing a sequel, no.  I've been lucky enough to get the opportunity to do other
things as a result of this film, and so that's what I'm focussing on.  And if you're all half as nice
about the next thing I do, I'll still be a very lucky man. 

Best to you, Ol

Hiee Mr.Ol Parker. This is the 1st time I am trying to send an email to 
you. I am from Malaysia,a country situated between Singapore and
Thailand. Have you heard of this country?My name is Wai Chee.I see IMAY
after a friend introduced it to me. From the start till ending,i
was surprised on how a simple love story could turn out to be so
touching and romantic at the same time. At the end of the movie,i
wish the movie will not end at all and the 2 characters will have
more screen time. Wishful thinking but i guess that is what all IMAY
fans are hoping. Is really a great movie,location wise,cast wise
all just falls into the puzzle perfectly.So thank you for
this movie. I never know about the 2 lead actress before IMAY.It
was through this movie that i got to know this 2 great actress.They
really have very good chemistry while filming,maybe they both knew
each other prior to this movie so it makes things a lot easier.I
fell in love with Luce (Lena) the instant she came on screen.Think
it will be the church scene where Rachel 1st set her eyes on Luce.
I think that is a very beautiful scene tho it was short and there
were no close ups/slow motions.Is just pure and simple and a love
story begins. Do you have both this actress in mind before you
started on this project?Or did you see their previous movies
before deciding these 2 actress will be in IMAY?Were you ever in
doubt that Lena and Piper do not have the chemistry between them
and convinced the audience that is love at 1st sight?(I was
convinced immediately,but were you before shooting) Did you ask
them to audition any scenes for you?I wanted to know what
scenes did Lena do if there was an audition for her before you
decide she is Luce.I have tons of questions which i hope to ask
you but i do not want to bombard you with too many of that.
Thank you once again for this beautiful love story.Will be
waiting for your next movie,hopefully a 2nd part of IMAY..:)
By the way,i have this request and hope you could help
me out. If you do meet up with Lena,pls do tell her that
there are many who loves and supports her,even someone living
as far as in Malaysia.She got that IT factor which makes
many of us to become a LENATICS,so do send my regards to
her.Thank you for your help. Thanks once again for reading
this email.Hope to hear from you soon. Bye
-waichee-

Hey Wai Chee

Cool to get mail from Malaysia, thank you.  And yes, I have heard of your country, although
sadly never been there.  By all means bombard me with questions, Wai Chee, it's no problem,
and I'm happy to answer.  Yes, Lena and Piper knew each other very well before the
movie, they'd done another one called 'The Cave' a year before.  And they'd hung out together
a lot, got very close.  Which meant that as far as I was concerned, even if I hadn't already
wanted to cast them both individually, I definitely wanted to cast them as a couple.  I wouldn't
get to see them in a room together for a couple more months, but even transatlantically their
chemistry was luminous, and self-evident.  And yes, they did both audition, although not
because I needed to be convinced of their acting abilities.  With Piper I just wanted to hear
her English accent, which was pretty great even though when she read for me she was in the
middle of another movie, and completely unprepared.  And Lena read because one of the
producers was less familiar with her work.  I can't remember what scenes she read, but since
she hates auditioning, and doesn't mind people knowing that, I can tell you that she read
terribly.  But I'd turned the camera on when she came in, so I was able to show them that
stuff as well; Lena just hanging out, being relaxed (we go way back), being beautiful.  And
she got the gig.  And now look: she's got some other ones ...

Lenatics, huh?  Nice one.  If she doesn't already, I'll make sure that she knows.  Thanks
again for writing, asking things.  Do it again anytime.  All the best, Ol


hola mi nombre es Patricia Fuentes
soy de Chile, aqui no llego la pelicula, la compre pirata en DVD. espero
poder
adquirirla original.
esta pelicula me encanto.
sus actrices me encantan.
he tratado de comprar algunas revistas, pero desde aqui es casi
imposible.
me gustaria mantener el contacto.
si gustas, me agradaria
saludos, besos
patt


Hola Patricia
Me alegre mucho que te hemos encantado.  Muchisimas gracias.
Besos, Ol

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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