It sounds to me so botanically beastful
His walking is looking like dancing
And making noise, zee boo, zee boo.
Eye colour changes by temperature.
When rainbows appear, he sings
Songs of the ancient moon.
Rider of storm, rider of wave.
(Dr Abbey is part of the Hopeless Maine film crew, and slowly being lured into other things, which is what the island tends to do to people – more here https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/casting-durosimi/ )
As I commented in the last blog, we did not initially know who should play Durosimi in the Blind Fisherman film. Suna Dasi and Loretta Hope were the obvious choices for Melisandra and Annamarie, respectively. As soon as John Basset joined the project, it struck me that he’d make a fine Reverend Davies. But, these three characters don’t really feature in the original Blind Fisherman piece while the two who do – the fisherman himself and Durosimi – were turning out to be a challenge.
Looking back, we started unconsciously figuring this out at Steampunks in Space, with a conversation about the team member all of us knew least at that point. What does he want, we asked each other. What would he enjoy? Because the heart of this project has always been about people doing what they love, and for one of our team we weren’t sure we’d pinned that, and we knew it mattered. Tom, Gregg and I had quite an involved conversation on that score, and still, at the time, the penny did not drop.
Eventually it struck me that we should ask Dr Abbey Masahiro if he would like to play Durosimi. At this point, we knew he had a background in directing and producing films and we knew he was up for working on a Hopeless Maine project, but that was about it. Only after we asked did we find out that he also has a lot of acting experience.
We knew before we asked that Dr Abbey is something of a wizard. But, our experience of him – as with this portrait Tom did – is of him being a charming and whimsical sort of wizard. Durosimi is not that sort of wizard, he is the sort to sacrifice children by throwing them into the sea.
Consequently, when Dr Abbey’s Durosimi photos came in, we were both startled and delighted. Tom had a very strange moment of realising that this was pretty much the face he’d been seeing when he was drawing Durosimi twelve years ago. So here he is, slightly terrifying and absolutely perfect.
In the summer of 2019, Dr Abbey Masahiro was at the big steampunk gathering in Lincoln. For a whole host of reasons, we weren’t. Tom had one of his moments (not unlike the stuff he gets up to on Facebook) and arranged to get a copy to Dr Abbey via the fabulous Lyssa Lopez Wain (who we later killed in this blog post).
Much to our delight, Dr Abbey was rather taken with Hopeless, Maine and started talking to us about what we do, and might do. The film project had been languishing on a back burner for some time at this point because none of us knew how to proceed.
As luck would have it, cameraman Gregg O’Neill was at an event with Dr Abbey a few weeks later and it gave them a chance to talk about all things film. There was a conversation about the Blind Fisherman project. Then, later in autumn, Dr Abbey took some Hopeless Maine posters and books to the Tokyo Film Festival to see if there might be a potential market for us. People involved with film festivals around the world had a look at us, and the response was positive.
It lit a fire under us, simply. Dr Abbey cast a spell on the project and we knew we were willing to invest a lot more energy and resources to make it work. The whole tone of the conversation changed, from largely daydreaming to entirely serious. We started thinking a lot more seriously about what and who would be needed to make it work, and everything stepped up a gear.