Lost Souls: There are a million question with regards to Galilee. Are there any bits and pieces that you can divulge?
Clive Barker: I deliver the first book the end of November. It's one of two books that are called Galilee. They are connected in the sense that they have many of the same characters and the narrative. It's not like the paperbacks of Imajica where the novel just sort of stopped and started in the second volume. This is very much two books in which I'm exploring a mythology. It's huge! So I am a social bore. I get up in the morning and I go to my desk and write, I paint in the evenings, I go to sleep. I get up in the morning and I go to my desk. I am completely obsessed with the Galilee books. When you have narrative structures as large as this, you hold inside of you a huge amount of information. And if I don't hold it all, I have a fear that I will not be fully aware of the way that one piece of the narrative affects another piece. When you are dealing with dozens and dozens of character, in this case two family blood lines, I feel that my head is stuffed with all of these facts of Galilee. When I get done, I let it go and it all comes pouring out my ears. It's all there on the page and all I can do is hope that I have done my best. Until that time, the information accrues and it becomes more complex. That's where I am right now. My head is filled!
Lost Souls: Boy, can I relate!
Clive Barker: I can't read fiction when I'm writing a book that is not related to the project in mind, it's a distraction. I am surrounded right now by hundreds of research books that are littered across the floor. (Laughs) When I do get a chance to watch a video at 11:00 pm or whatever, I wonder. . . If I could see my own face now, it would be a complete blank. There's nothing left. It's all gone out onto the page. You go to sleep and the dream time heals the wounds of the writing so you can be ready for the next day.
Lost Souls: How big do you expect the two books of Galilee to be?
Clive Barker: I expect two seven hundred page books, back to back. It's set in New York, Hawaii, Japan, Hollywood, Charleston and Bentonville North Carolina. It's also set in South Carolina and the Caspian Sea in central Asia. Galilee spans the times of long before human kind even raised their noses, the time of the Civil War and in contemporary times. It's incredibly complicated and complex structure. I hope it's very emotional rich as well. I am about three quarters of the way through the final draft of the first book. The other drafts of the second book are already written but I still have the final draft to do of that book. It's exciting as hell. I am having a wonderful time. It's not an invented world book like Imajica or Weaveworld but it has elements of dark fantasy and magic as well. It's set in worlds that which require a lot of research. Some of it was very easy to research, like the Civil War stuff. But discovering how people fished on the shores of the Caspian Sea at the time that Christ was born is really hard to find out. It's sort of fun trying to search the libraries and bookshelves to find the little pieces of the facts that add up to an end result. It's like a jigsaw puzzle.
Lost Souls: You already have the second book written?
Clive Barker: Yeah. What I did was write the whole thing first. There are things which are seeded in the first book which do not come into full bloom until the second book. I needed to know how those blossoms where going to look so I need to make sure the narrative elements were in place in the first book to resolve themselves in the second book.
Lost Souls: When do you expect to deliver the second book?
Clive Barker: Middle of next years. I don't want there to be a big gap between books. It will be a huge reading experience. What I'm trying for is an epic reading experience of the scale I haven't attempted since Imajica. This will actually end up larger than Imajica. Just as Imajica moves through Dominions, Galilee moves through time. It's been a complicated writing experience but it's also been a very emotionally rewarding writing experience. What I tried to do is take what I learned about writing about the real world in Sacrament and marrying it to what I learned about writing a sort of poetic, almost religious fantasy in Imajica. I wanted those to be put side by side. Famous last word (laughs)...
Lost Souls: How are things shaping up down at Fox?
Clive Barker: We still have all the project that I mentioned before. It's slow. No, that not true. It's slow, fast, slow, fast. There are long periods when you think nothing is happening and then they want something by next week. We just took in a whole series of proposals to them. All of them have been put into development, which is great. We probably have more stuff in development than another company presently working for Fox. It's a little like jugging. You know those guys spin those plates on sticks? It's almost like Anna, Robb, Joe and myself are running from one stick to the next. I'm learning more and more to delegate from this abundance of work. There's so many parts to these development processes. I can't be there all the time for all this stuff. In this last time of writing this book, it's almost impossible for me to step away from the desk. I have wonderful people working for me and that definitely helps.
Lost Souls: How about working with the people at Fox? How has that been?
Clive Barker: There's a part of the development process that is very irksome to me. It's when everyone that is paid to have something to do with the process feels that they have to justify their jobs. They do that by having an opinion even when they don't have an opinion. You feel as though you are dealing with people that are spitting out commands because they feel as if their boss might look at them and wonder why they are paying that person. I have always resisted creation by committee. I don't think good work is made by committee's it's made by individuals. It's not that I don't understand why these people do this. They have mortgages and kids and they have to justify their existence to their bosses. It's just that I resist the diluting effect that so often happens in television and movies. You think of David Lynch or David Cronenberg movies and you see that these are not made by committee. Whereas Jurassic Park: The Lost World or Batman and Robin look like they were made by committees.
Lost Souls: Did you get a good response from Quicksilver Highway? At least from Fox?
Clive Barker: It was alright. I have my own problems with the way that it was presented. I believe that anthologies are very hard to pull off. I almost want to say that there's not a single anthology movie out there that I can say, hand on heart, that I loved. There are anthologies in which I love one or two stories. I loved The Crate in the first Creepshow. I loved the Joe Dante story about the little kid that invents his own world in The Twilight Zone picture. But, surrounding those stories are a bunch of stories I don't like. I not saying that I didn't like Stephen King's story, I just don't think it sat particularly comfortably with my story. So you have this strange thing where you are watching a movie but you really aren't because it doesn't have the satisfaction of a whole movie. I think Mick Garris is incredibly talented, his adaption of The Shining is testament of how well he can do with the long form of fiction. I'd love to see him tackle something of mine that was six hours long instead of an hour long. It's not even an hour. A television hour is something like 48 minutes or something like that.
Lost Souls: People have been asking for a list of what Clive Barker is reading at any given moment or what movies you might recommend. Would you be willing to give up those titles?
Clive Barker: Sure. Keep in mind that I am not reading or watching movies while I'm writing. But, I will give you those lists when I am free.
Lost Souls: What's going on with Father of Frankenstien (the movie Clive is executive producing)?
Clive Barker: It's now called Gods and Monsters. Bill Condon is quietly optomistic and we shall see it in a very short time.
Lost Souls: Who is starring in the movie?
Clive Barker: Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser, Lolita Davidovich, Kevin J O'Connor (from Lord of Illusions), and Lynn Redgrave. It's a really good cast!
Lost Souls: Maybe it's me, but could you explain what it means to be Executive Producer?
Clive Barker: To give you two radically different examples; The Thief of Always and Gods and Monsters. In the case of Thief of Always: It's my book and I've worked with Bernard Rose before. My company is producing it along with Manifest which is Lisa Hensen's company and Universal. I am sort of one of the God-Fathers of the movie. The decisions about writing, the adaptation, how much the movie will cost and the way it will be cast, I will have my finger in all of those decisions. My company along with Lisa's and Universal are all pulling together in the same direction. As the creator of the original material, Universal will necessarily listen to my voice, in the opening parts of the process at least. They may not later on because sometimes things change. In the opening parts they have been extremely eager for me to share my thoughts about what I feel is most cinematic about the book and what I feel is thematically important. When they come up with casting ideas, they run things by me and Bernard runs things by me. That's one kind of executive producership. The other is something more like Gods and Monsters. Unlike Thief of Always, this is a small independent picture. It's very difficult to get funding for these movies. It's not a big popular subject. There are no dinosaurs, aliens or big special effects. This is a small intimate picture about a gay man who was, in my opinion, one of the great creators of Hollywood. I wanted that story to be told because of who James Whale has been in my life. It's also about what Bride of Frankenstein and Frankenstein have meant to my life. I wanted to see this character brought to life on the screen. I knew as well as Bill Condon, who adapted the book for the screen, that this was not a movie that was going to be easy to set up. Bill came to me at first and said, "we've had a good relationship in the past", which we have working together on Candyman 2. I have enjoyed Bill as a working colleague immensely. He said, "you're name will help us open door. Will you executive produce this picture and come with me to the initial meetings and convince people to give us the money?" I had put a quote on the book and was very fond of the book to begin with. So I was a sounding board for Bill at the very beginning of the process. I was then going into meeting with Bill and saying to people, "look, you know who I am. Let me introduce you to Bill Condon. He's a really good guy and he's a guy who will deliver us this picture on budget." What I basically did was offer a portrait of Bill even though he was sitting in the room with us. I needed to get people to understand who Bill was and that I had great faith in him. And later on I sat with Bill and persuaded Ian McKellen to do the picture. I called up Brendan's agents and said we really want him for the movie. All that behind the scenes stuff. Because I have great faith in Bill, as I do in Bernard, when it comes to the middle part of the process which is actually making the movie, that's when I think it's important to step out of the process. I believe I only need to put my finger in the pie if the director asks for help. The next time I will be useful to Bill is when he comes along and says here's the cut, is it working? This is a long winded explanation but it's actually a complicated process. There are a lot of executive producers who are names only. Steve Gowen, who was one of the executive producers on Lord of Illusions, never saw the movie. He was an honorary executive producer because I had once had a deal over at Propaganda where he was the boss. He was attached to the project and got him name on the movie even though to this day he's never saw the picture. I'm not that kind of executive producer. I'm much more hands on, much more involved. That's because I don't get involved unless I feel passionate about it.
Lost Souls: How is Thief of Always coming?
Clive Barker: I think it is going well. I will get another draft from Bernard in the next few days. Universal's enthusiasm has been marvelous. They have been tremendously articulate about what they like about this book. One of the things that is very satisfying about this is going into a meeting at Universal and finding out there is such passion amongst the executives there for this little book. It's certainly going to be, as far as my producing duties are concerned, the big project of next year. It's definitely one I'm looking forward to.
Lost Souls: What do you hope to see out of the members of Lost Souls and/or Staff members of Lost Souls?
Clive Barker: I came away from Atlanta feeling as if I'd learned a lot. It was very cool for me to say, "what do you guys need?" These people are extremely articulate people who really want to talk about writing and ideas. I want to see our little community become as articulate as possible. That's what it really comes down to. If you go back over the past issues of Lost Souls, one of the things that strikes me is how many smart people are talking in there. I'm not going to make any comparisons to any other magazines, the point is to celebrate how smart they are when they are talking. If someone was to come in, actually people did come in to our mini-con in Atlanta. One of them wrote in the last issue of Lost Souls. They talked about coming in out of the blue and saying wow, this is a bunch of people talking about intelligent stuff at the top of their talent. This is not a little circle of people dressed in black. It's not some kind of freakish, cultish, let's all talk in code so the world will realize how special we are. It's not this kind of thing at all. What Lost Souls is about is people interested in literature, painting, philosophy and making art and the way our culture works. It's like minded people that want to talk. In the 19th century, you're familiar with the idea salon. It's originally a French idea but, the salon was the idea that you would get a group of the best people that the culture could offer together. It was the writers, the philosophers, the talkers and the politicians. They would sit around and drink their coffee, probably get completely wired off the coffee. But they would gather together, like minded or not, to exchange views. We can't do that because we live in a much more spread out community now. If we where all in Paris, we'd be sitting at a cafe talking. We live in this community which is spread out, in our case over many continents. Yet the desire to express ourselves and talk about things that are important to us all, in a culture that is increasing trivial, is meaningful to us. One of the things I realized when we were all together and talking was that we're all people that want to talk seriously. Here was a chance for all of us to sit together and what you would not hear was discussions about various German editions or whether the Swedish edition had the red or blue cover. What you heard was ideas. I think that's really the point. You turn on the television and it's crap most of the time. The people are not talking about ideas. They're certainly not talking about literature. The most serious attempt the television gets to the discussion of literature or religion is one arts channel or the evangelical channel. Yet there's a huge appetite inside of people. I get hundreds of letters from people a week and you would be amazed at the content. Some may be three, four, five pages long which go into great depth about this book or an idea that occurred to them about that book. That's where I believe Lost Souls comes in. It creates a forum for that kind of exchange. I think a testament to that was the success we had in Atlanta.
Lost Souls: Speaking of Atlanta. 99 percent of the feedback we received has been positive.
Clive Barker: There's always got to be three people who didn't like it. You know, if those people didn't exist, you'd have to create them.
Lost Souls: The question is when is the next convention?
Clive Barker: We need to talk about that. Should we choose to be involved in something that large again? The organizational problems for you and the exhaustion problems for me make me believe we need to get involved with something a tad bit smaller. There has to be a middle ground there somewhere. To be fair to Dragoncon an Ed Kramer, it's an extraordinary achievement in terms or organization to even get something like that going on. In order for me to get from one place to another, I very often had a half hour trek on my hands. There was people everywhere and all these enormous hotels. I felt overwhelmed. When we do it again, I think we need to do it in a situation which allows us much more control. I think we can be better. We need to think about which convention we connect with and whether it can possibly be here in Los Angeles, which would make me very happy.
Lost Souls: Only if we can stay at your house!
Clive Barker: (Laughs) Oh god. The dogs would love it! One hundred and fifty playmates!