Tuesday, 18 March 2008
Some thoughts on the death of Anthony Minghella from Brendan:

Anthony's death really took me by surprise earlier today. I worked with him on a bunch of his film and TV projects some years ago, largely before his career took off with 'The English Patient'.

He had written these beautiful scripts for Jim Henson's TV series 'The Storyteller', which I boarded and did the conceptual designs for. While I was working on the TV series, he asked me to help him with visualizing a new feature he had written: It was a smart comedy called 'Seven deadly Sins' where the sins, Lust, Greed, Envy etc are little creatures attempting to corrupt a man who is too wholesome for his own good. It never got off the ground, but our paths crossed again when he came to LA. I was over there finishing up the 'Coneheads' movie with director Steve Barron.

Anthony had recently arrived in Hollywood, so we both decided to go down to the local DMV together as we both had to pick up a driver's ID... He wanted to tell me about another film he had planned, a follow-up to 'Truly Madly' called 'Mr Wonderful' for MGM, to see if I'd like to work on it with him.

Whenever we chatted together, the conversation would often swerve off into quite surreal realms... a verbal tennis game with each of us trying to top the other. Something to pass the time. At one point I suggested to him that he should capitalize on the success of his British TV series 'Morse' and create a new detective based on the singer in the rock group ELO, who would, in this case be blind, as some sort of physical impediment was the rule in these types of TV shows...

I declared that the series was to be called "Blind Jeff Lynne" and would feature the actual Jeff Lynne with a white cane and an impenetrable "brummie" accent, maybe even subtitles. Anthony stared at me ashen-faced and gravely told me that Jeff was a close friend of his and was actually losing his sight and going blind. Anthony was a bit shaken up and weirded-out that our conversation had strayed into such an unfortunate coincidence. I was quite shocked and apologized. I really had no idea... We sat together in silence for a long while and were eventually called to pick up our licenses...

As we left the building Anthony roared with laughter, his whole Jeff Lynne story a well-acted sham. So, alright, he got me on that one.

But every time I bumped into him in the years that followed, he would always sing a lick from an ELO song and rib me about falling for his ruse. As many others have remarked, Anthony was a very funny, good-natured man.

Later, I worked on another movie with him that he'd written called 'Prince Charming' for Working Title Films in London. We spent a few weeks locked away up in the Lake District, visualizing the script. We had some great, interesting conversations about all sorts of ideas, from occult magick to cutting edge physics... and inevitably, Jeff Lynne.

God Bless you Anthony. It was a lot of fun!


Mark said...

Y'know Brendan, this blog just might be getting a bit morbid. Y'didn't know Arthur C Clarke as well?

Brendan McCarthy is one of Britain's most talented comic book creators and designers. His unique and distinctive style has influenced a generation of artists and writers. He has produced some classic UK graphic novels, written and designed some ground-breaking TV series and worked on many successful Hollywood movies

The Strangeness of Brendan McCarthy site was created in 1999 by John Kirkham and aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the work of Brendan McCarthy. This website is the official fansite and is put together with the cooperation of Brendan. So we will be bringing you the latest news, exclusive artwork and all things McCarthy related


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