Written for FLARE‘s 9-5 series.
What it like to see your words come to life in film? Depending on the film, it can be very thrilling. However, because of the inconsistency of the outcome of projects, be it in film or theatre, I really focus more on the experience of writing and collaborating as being the moments of thrill.
Speaking of thrills, what draws you to the genre of thrillers with strong female leads? The themes of desire, longing and sexuality are readily available in the thriller, partially because audiences are more willing to delve into those subjects when they think the woman is a “bad woman.” I find thrillers incredibly exciting because you can do almost anything you want inside the boundaries of the genre and in terms of women’s naughty side.
The Girl on the Train is exactly that. How did you get involved with the project? I was given the manuscript for the book before it was published to consider adapting as a film. I was amazed that Paula Hawkins had taken voyeurism and longing—which is often portrayed in literature as quite sexualized—and made it for the popular audience. She took the perv out of it and got down to the essence of loneliness, being afraid of one’s self and of watching the world go by without participating in it. I was very drawn to what she wrote and found that it was very universal in terms of a person feeling disconnected from life.
What did you find relatable about it? For me the train and its windows are a lot like the Internet in the sense that we see these windows pass and we see people’s backyards go by, and we project what we think are perfect lives onto these people. We do the same on social media. We see pictures and pages and everyone appears to be living incredible lives—and we believe it. But it’s just a surface look.