This past April 9th, quite by coincidence, I was meeting with Sean, the director of photography, to go over the script for visual themes. We arrived at one scene that we agreed was the heart of the story, a scene in which Malek draws his frightened eight year old son out of hiding. Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if this scene was in the first draft, so I did a quick search and stumbled onto this date: April 9th, 2007.
It was two years to the day that the script was written.
The story was germinating for a long time. After Josh and I finished Her Music Led, our first little movie shot on film, we talked about possible inspirations for our next project. Eventually we mentioned Antigone [pictured above], a classic that always reminded me of my uncle's story. I related this story to Josh, as best as I could remember, and his eyes lit up. That was 2005.
Spring 2007 was my second semester at USC. I had a writing class with a wonderful professor, who required us to write every week either three one page treatments, or a ten page script. I decided to write my uncle's story, and I put together a treatment for the first assignment, but my professor refused to let me. I wasn't ready, he said. Maybe later, he said.
Grumble, grumble, grumble. But he was right. After a romantic comedy, two ancient period pieces, and a couple of bizarre experiments, I finally understood what he meant. He gave his permission, and I wrote the first draft of To Rest in Peace.
Which did have the scene between Malek and his son, almost word for word.