Sliding Doors


This is a bit longer than usual. Another British comedy, it’s not fantastic but pretty good. I’m being a bit self-indulgent. When I worked in the film business I gave notes on the script for “Sliding Doors”. I liked the high-concept of two alternate realities but there were elements I absolutely hated about it. I didn’t think they’d listen to me but they did. I made it less “Hollywood” England and made it more real, more working class. Just because, y’know, “Up the workers!”

The original script was very much like “Four Weddings…” For example, John Hannah’s mother lived in a big country house and I suggested she live in a council house – done! Also, Gwyneth Paltrow said at one point her grandfather worked on one of London’s bridges as an architect. I suggested they say he was a labourer – that was kind of done, they dropped the architect bit!

But the biggest problem I had with the script was the idea that being in PR was good but being a waitress was bad. I argued that there was nothing wrong with being a waitress. They needed to make it clear that the restaurant where she worked was terrible, not that the job of being a waitress was terrible. I suggested they at least put a scene where a customer is awful to her. The director loved the idea so much that he played the part of the awful customer himself. That’s my scene! My victory for the workers! Small but satisfying.

There was also a subplot about Paltrow’s boyfriend constantly spying on her from bushes which was supposed to be funny but just wasn’t, so I said to drop it all – done! In the end it turned out pretty well.

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