The thing about me was that I could have a go at any screenplay (beyond sci-fi), so when my agent received an unusual request, she tended to say: one for John Wrathall. That was how I met Lodewijk Crijns, a young Dutch director who specialised in making fake documentaries, including Lap Rouge, one about 2 Dutch brothers living a hand-to-mouth existence in the South of France. He wanted to direct a film following a group of English boys aged 16 to the Costa Brava – and watching them fall apart.
At the meeting, I suggested Essex as a good place to audition schoolboys, and – hey presto! – the next thing I knew he was there, staying with his producer and an assistant in the next village. We toured Essex secondary schools – and selected 5 boys from places like South Woodham Ferrers and Hockley.
When I first met him, Lodewijk had long hair but to be ‘proper’ for visiting schools he had had it cut short, which looked quite odd with his 2 silver earrings. In Brentwood, the 4th or 5th school we’d been to, he was feeling cocky, used to the system of making a speech to assorted 16 year olds and filming those who were interested. But he attracted sniggers. Was it because of his odd, Dutch accent.
Actually, no. I’d heard them chatting.
I said, in a whisper: They think you look like Gary Glitter!
But Dutch people, it turned out, didn’t know him. I explained that he was a 70s glam rocker.
⁃ So, that’s good?
I explained to him that Gary Glitter, at that very moment, was on trial for having child pornography on his computer…
Lodewijk went quiet.
Luckily, he has a warped sense of humour. But he’s admitted that ever since, he’s never felt totally at ease in a school with 16-year-olds.