With Lion now playing in limited release, I recently sat down with screenwriter Luke Davies for an extended video interview. During our wide-ranging conversation he talked about meeting Saroo’s biological mother affected how he wrote the screenplay, balancing fact vs. fiction, how he wanted India and Australia to feel like distinct characters, the way WALL-E influenced his take on the film, the way he likes to work, how the producers kept Google at arms-length but Google did help recreate an older version of Google Maps for the movie, and more. In addition, we talked about some of his other work like the Catch-22 miniseries with David Michod and adapting two different books for an upcoming film.
If you aren’t familiar with Lion, it’s based on the true story of a young man named Saroo who became separated from his family in India at the age of five and was subsequently adopted by an Australian family. As a five-year-old, Saroo could not correctly explain where, exactly, he was from, and thus all hopes of finding his family were lost. As an adult, however, the advent of Google Earth provides Saroo with a unique opportunity, as he sets about finding his long lost family once and for all. The film stars Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham, and Sunny Pawar.
Finally, while I knew the story of Lion before sitting down to watch it, the way Garth Davis told the story floored me and it’s a hell of a debut. I’m extremely confident Davis will be making a lot more movies in the coming years and I can’t wait to see them.
Here’s what we talked about during the interview followed by some images.
- How did he get involved in the project?
Talks about how meeting Saroo’s biological mother affected how he wrote the screenplay.
- Balancing fact vs. fiction.
- Talks about how the producers kept Google at arms-length, but Google helped recreate an older version of Google Maps for the movie.
- How much time did he have to write the script?
- Says they wanted India and Australia to feel like distinct characters in the film.
- Talks about how WALL-E influenced his take on the film.
- What’s his writing process like? Does he work during specific hours?
- Talks about how impressive the film is for being Garth Davis’ first feature.
- What was his impression seeing the first cut of the movie?
- Discusses adapting two different books for an upcoming film.
- Talks about writing movies that don’t involve giant explosions or robots.
- Does he prefer writing one movie at a time, or does he juggle many scripts at once?
- Talks about his upcoming projects. Working on a Catch-22 miniseries with David Michod.