Writer/director John Maclean on SLOW WEST



First time writer/director John Maclean had always been inspired by the western genre. Being a Scotsman as he describes himself, he feel in love with the idea of pioneering Scotsmen coming to America to seek adventure and fortune.

Maclean’s film, Slow West, tells the story of a 16-year-old boy who travels from Scotland to America to find the love of his life. She’s been banished after a terrible crime was committed. Michael Fassbender plays the archetype American cowboy who runs across this boy and helps him – or so you think – find his destiny.

So, why choose a western for a first film? “I always thought the western was about the lone hero. And I think you can say something about masculinity and coming of age, but you can say the reverse as well and add strong females,” says Maclean. “If you can play with myth and genre and play with clichés…” he says, you can do something different.

ScreenwritingU sat down with Maclean and discussed writing, directing and teaming up with Fassbender to make this first time movie dream come true. Maclean says, “It was a bit of teasing the opportunity and luck.”

Slow West won Sundance Institutes World Cinema Jury Prize for drama in 2015. The film co-stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (Paranorman), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises) and Rory McCann (Clash of the Titans).

Slow West releases in theaters May 15.



Photo credit: Film4 Productions


Jenna Milly is Editor-in-chief of ScreenwritingU Magazine, an inside source for the latest scoop from the screenwriter's POV on upcoming movies. She interviews some of the top writers in Hollywood for such movies as The Revenant, The MartianMission: Impossible and many others. She co-created the TBS microseries Gillian in Georgia. She earned her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Georgia and a M.F.A. in Screenwriting from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. She has written for CNN.com, The Los Angeles Times, Script Magazine, TwelvePoint, and a variety of magazines. You can follow her on Twitter: @jennamilly

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