A few weeks ago, I posted about how overjoyed I’d be if someone was to make “He Was Weird” into a film. I think the great majority of authors would be. However, I also stated my reservations about it as well, especially if the film was made by the British Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC. Like all authors, I would be fearful of the filmmakers changing too much of the book or delivering scenes in a way that might miss the point I was trying to make when I wrote it. The school shooting is the prime example. On the other hand, there were things not in the book that I would like to be put into the film, only because those items don’t transfer well between book and film.
If you look at the page of everyone I thank for their assistance when I wrote “He Was Weird,” you would find that the last thank you goes to former lead singer of the punk band Dead Kennedys and now a days, a political spokesman and social commentator, Jello Biafra. It was his speech on school shootings that encouraged me to write the book. When I first listened to that speech, I had to reflect back on my own life, especially during the three years of bullying hell I went through and conclude that in the case of school shootings: This could have been me.
In any movie on the book, I would hope that segments of the speech would be used in key points. The most obvious one would be when Mark is riding his bike to school on the big day. While I believe and have been told that I do a reasonably good job in showing how he is feeling as he is riding his bike to school to carry out his extravaganza, this would be hard to capture on film. Basically, Mark has come to the conclusion that he is a failure to everyone and that the town of Ramsgate is responsible so it’s only right that he end his life as well as those of his tormentors. Jello provides the right words here. So, during Mark’s final trip to school, we could hear Jello commenting:
“There is nothing more dangerous than someone who has nothing to live for and therefore nothing to lose. Doesn’t particularly want to die but can’t see the point of living. Knows who wrecked their life and thinks ‘If I have to die, I’m taking them with me.”
I truly believe that this would be a powerful build up to the brutal climax to come.
Another point where Jello’s words can be useful is right after the shooting. While news of it spreads around the world quite rapidly and the introductory words to the speech could be used in any of the newscasts following the shooting, my personal preference would be when Mark’s love interest Lisa is coming downstairs the next morning and is about to be told about Mark’s deeds by her parents. This can be playing on the radio in the background:
“Dateline Hellburbia! Wallmart wasteland USA! Monster teenagers shot up their school again.”
Again, the power behind the speech would jar the people in the audience to the shock news that Lisa is about to receive.
The final use of Jello’s speech would come at the very end of the film and serve as a warning. While I do my best to end the story happily and we understand the why’s and how’s behind Mark’s actions as well as the effects it had on many people, the problems of bullying and other factors that might lead to a young person shooting up their school never disappear. So, while Mark’s sister Leslie and her boyfriend are walking off into the sunset before the closing credits, Jello’s voice will put a solid reminder to all with:
“No matter how much we drug, profile and ban music, some vacant stranger out there, raised on guns, raised on hate, mind fucked by pedophile relatives, molested by mind controlling drugs, smothered by successful older siblings and relatives will find a way to be pop star for a day and we’ll tune in and watch every time.”
Not all of the above applied to Mark but most of it did. I think all of these parts of Jello Biafra’s speech would fit in very well in a movie of my book. Now, I await the offers from film companies, fat chance.
To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494925485&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird