Lost Souls: Let's just start by getting your comments on the Sacrament tour.
Clive: I felt very welcome. The book seems to have really moved people. I don't go into these things assuming everybody's going to love it. I would go in a little anxious, wanting everything to go right, wanting the people to show in size but never taking it for granted. It's always nice when people come up to the signings, have a good time and bring all their books and things. It may seem absurd that I worry about those things, but I do worry. I want it to be the best event for all the people.
Lost Souls: What else is new?
Clive: Well a lot of things. Now that I'm back here I've done some work on a new book; actually it's a novel.
Lost Souls: Is this "The Everything"?
Clive: No. It's a big novel...Sacrament sized novel...with the same kind of marriage of reality hinged with the supernatural that marks Sacrament, and it's set in America...and that's about all I can say about that right now. I will also say though that I'm doing a lot of research on the Civil War. Now whether or not that's connected to this novel or not...who knows...(said with a snicker). I'm actually quite excited about that. That's the book I'm doing right now. I'm also doing a whole series of paintings for a book project, which I can hopefully tell you more about next time we talk about this. In fact, the meeting I just came out of to have this conversation is related to this painting and writing project, but it will be a book of pictures and words. So short stories and paintings is the idea, but I'll be able to tell you more about it next time while I try to get things in place.
Lost Souls: When is your gallery opening?
Clive: In April, at the Luz De Jesus, here in Los Angeles. That's going to be quite fun I think and I've been doing paintings for it already; small paintings mostly...small works on paper, small works on canvas, and one or two large works as well.
Lost Souls: Kind of like the size of the A-Z series?
Clive: Yes. Kind of intentional pieces. I also think it must be mentioned that Bess Cutler has suspended their business. They were one of the few galleries left in New York. Galleries in N.Y. are closing down in incredible numbers over the last few years. They did lovely exhibitions, they sold a lot of work to a lot of people who where happy to buy the pieces. I was pleased about all of that. But we should wish them luck in the future.
Lost Souls: You mentioned that William Friedkin was thinking about producing The Damnation Game for television.
Clive: Yes, he and I had lunch about four months ago just on the basis that we wanted to be in business...I love what he does, he loves what I do. I said what about Damnation Game and he said I love that book let's talk. I think he'll be tremendous if we could pull it off because "The Exorcist" remains one of the best horror movies of all time and I think many of his movies were under-rated. I'm a huge fan of "To Live and die in L.A.", which I think was absolutely a first rate picture. I would love to be in business with him.
Lost Souls: You also mentioned the fact that you were not going to be directing a new movie next year.
Clive: It was good being on the road because it gave me the chance to just think about what I wanted to do. I have so many stories in my head...I'm thinking about novels primarily: stories I need to tell; stories that I feel very passionate about. I feel that it's a good time for me to concentrate hard on those things and maybe for the next 2-3 years produce books — some for children, some for adults-- and paint pictures. And where the TV stuff, and indeed where the movie stuff is concerned, just basically keep my area of concern limited to producing stuff, but I want to primarily write and paint.
Lost Souls: You mentioned that you were producing a film on the life of somebody...
Clive: The life of James Whale: the man who directed "The Bride of Frankenstein". A little while ago a man called Christopher Pram wrote an excellent book called "Father of Frankenstein" which is about the last few months of James Whale's life. James was a great filmmaker who seemed to have a low opinion of the works he made. He directed Frankenstein (the original with Karloff), Bride of Frankenstein, The Old Dark House, and a whole slew of movies including the original movie of Showboat, which are all wonderful pictures. In his relatively old age, in his late 60's, he had a stroke and was defuriated. He was a gay man who had been ostracized by Hollywood to some degree. The picture that Pram draws had this man who's really going back over his past and reminiscing about what he had achieved and failed to achieve. Bill Condon, who directed Candyman 2 was a huge fan of the book, I was a huge fan of the book, I put a quote in the book, so Bill said 'do you want to produce this movie if I direct it?’ and I said yes. So where we are now is we are trying to get that deal into place. I think it could be very cool. Bill's Script brilliantly interweaves the life of this man in the last phases of his life remembering the points of glory, also dealing with the fact of his eminent death.
Lost Souls: What's going on with the "Thief of Always" animated movie?
Clive: Well...I'm trying to find that out right now. My company, Seraphim, has now officially moved to 20th Century Fox. So we are now in the situation where we will be developing a whole bunch of TV material/movies of the week and motion pictures with Fox. So one of the things that we may do is take the project "Thief of Always" over to Fox. I don't honestly know right now if Nelvana will be involved or not. The problem right now is that is a city full of people playing musical chairs. There just seems to be no ending to it whatsoever and many of the people with whom we originally did the deal at Paramount are no longer there...management structure has changed completely, so the people who were initially interested in "Thief of Always" and had put millions of dollars into it's development are no longer there. Universal is interested in the project and a couple other people; Miramax is interested in the project, but because I've been out on a loop for a while I haven't really been studying it closely. My life has been entirely Sacrament for the last 3 months, so now that I'm back one of the things we'll focus on is bringing it over to Fox.
Lost Souls: If it is taken over by Fox, does that mean that the drawings will change?
Clive: Yes. I think everything would change which I wouldn't necessarily mind. The truth of the matter is that's the way movies go as you go. You think about the 15 years it took for "Interview with the Vampire" to hit the screen, the 10 years it took to get "The Stand" on to TV...You get these people involved and those people involved. The practicality of making movies is that you're constantly dealing with a new set of problems and people, and I'm always amazed that anything can get made at all.
Lost Souls: Is there any news on Weaveworld?
Clive: I talked to people last week with Showtime and with Michael Marshal Smith who's doing the adaptation. I know they want to get it before the camera before April of next year so that means that M. M. Smith has to do what he needs to do on the screenplay in the next 2 months or so. It's a big screenplay--it's 8 hours of TV. But it seems to be proceeding.
Clive: As a footnote, I've just done an introduction to a book by Doug Bradley called "Sacred Monsters" about men who made their careers as monsters in movies. Titan Books, who did the Hellraiser Chronicles, is publishing the book. It comes out, I think in about 3 months time.
Lost Souls: How do you feel about people saying that you are now out of the closet?
Clive: My standard answer to this is, "since when was I in?" I think that anyone reading this piece or Lost Souls or whatever would say, "I haven't forgotten faith.” What's the deal? I don't think it's an issue at all, and think if you look at the huge signings that we had on the tour of Sacrament, you see that the readers are interested in what the book is about and they want to connect with the stories, as they always have.