Guy X : Story


Guy X’s story always presented a challenge. The way its tone shifts in the second half of the film struck me as both a great puzzle, and as a sophisticated method of luring an audience into looking at something they might not be prepared to examine at the outset. Unlike a lot of contemporary films, wherein an interesting idea at the beginning is jettisoned - when the story turns into a routine chase or a fight or whatever the ideas in Guy X become progressively more complex.

The original novel - which I read after reading an early draft of the script - was set in the post-Korean War period. We updated it to the post-Vietnam War period, partially to stop it feeling too ‘historical’, and partially to pull it away from the world of Dr. Strangelove, which is so richly drawn in that film. We did consider moving it to present day, but felt that it would become too much about the Iraq War, and also I felt that the sense of isolation wouldn’t be as powerful (with the internet, mobile phones etc.).

Of course, there is a perverse pleasure in making a period film in which the specific period makes only the most tangential appearance (in a few songs on the soundtrack, and a few references in conversations). The characters in Guy X are just about as far away from mainstream culture as you can get.