It’s time for another installment of my “Infrequently Asked Questions” series! As you will have seen from the title of this post, today let’s find out “what inspired Parisienne Skies, Full of Strangers?”
I’m glad you asked. (Yes yes, I know you didn’t, but indulge me for a moment or two.)
The initial spark that lit the candle was Casablanca, which I implore you to see, if you haven’t already. The idea of Rick and Elsa’s powerful but unfulfilled love in troubled times (World War 2 in their case) fascinated me. That they had been parted but still held a torch for each other. From there, my story took on a life of its own and filled out in directions I hadn’t anticipated. My Rick had a wife, Bogart’s Rick didn’t. Monique is single but Elsa is married. Most of my action takes place away from the bar and we take in some of the sites of Paris. I have Google Streetview to thank for giving me the ability to describe the scenery as I’ve never actually been to the French capital! The closest I’ve been is sitting on the Eurostar in Lille Station en route to Bruges.
The only two direct nods I made to the original movie are that the leading man is called Rick and his drinking establishment is “Rick’s Café Américain” in Casablanca and “Le Bar Américain” in PS. There would’ve been a third but I knew I had to ditch the working title “Space Casablanca”. I’m surprised that no-one picked up on that influence but it must be more subtle than I thought.
In closing, a fervent wish. Should any passing producer director take a fancy towards televising/filming PS, I’d like them to cast Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont in Game of Thrones) as Rick and Thandie Newton (Maeve in Westworld) as Monique. Not much to ask, is it? 😊