Starburst recently caught up with Dan Freeman, the writer, director and producer of acclaimed audio drama The Minister of Chance following the release of the fourth episode, Tiger. We discussed the past and future of this epic tale...
Starburst: How do you feel now you have almost got to the end of the series and how much does the plot for each episode still resemble your original concept?
Dan Freeman: You know I'm not sure I even remember the original concept! I think it's broadly come out as I expected! It's morphed and meandered as it has moved along. Sometimes characters come up and you really like them and want to do more with them, and sometimes you just drop them if you get bored.
How much of this story was even in concept back when you produced Death Comes to Time?
Again, ancient history! I think the concept was there. I wrote the Prologue donkeys years ago as a film script.
The crowd-funding seems to have been a success - would you use that approach again/recommend it to others?
I would love to do it again. It’s a lovely way to work. I was ranting about it to Jamie Anderson (son of Gerry), encouraging him to use it to complete unfinished projects of his Dad's. Your bosses are just very generous members of the public, instead of people in suits.
Apart from the writing much of the strength in the finished product comes from the talented cast you have assembled; how have you managed to attract so many people? Did luck play much of a part or have you mostly ended up with people you wanted?
We just asked them! Clare sent them the script and they read it and agreed. Once we got Julian Wadham, we knew we were onto a winner. Phil Glenister and Jed Brophy approached us and asked to be in it, which was really exciting.
While we could single out a lot of people, we wanted to just ask about Lauren Crace who is at an earlier part of her career than many of the others. How did Lauren get the part of Kitty (which she is excellent in)?
She auditioned! Clare told me about this pretty blonde actress from Eastenders who she thought was great, and I couldn't have been less interested. Then I met Lauren, and I was struck by her maturity and authority, so within a couple of minutes I took her very seriously. Then when she auditioned (along with some other incredible talent), and I remember literally looking at Clare and rolling my eyes while Lauren was talking, I just couldn't believe how hilarious and clever her performance was. She makes me laugh even though I wrote the lines! The one downside is that Lauren has one of the most beautiful and infectious smiles I've ever seen, and Kitty never smiles!
Can you give us any clues for episode 5? Do we get more Kitty back story? Is there a deeper connection with Jenny Agutter's Professor Cantha for example?
Yes, you do get some more Kitty backstory! It's the end of this story arc, so I hope everything will be wrapped up satisfactorily... I will smugly say no more!
What's next, will there be a Minister of Chance II? It seems to us that there are lots of possibilities; you have a very rich cast of characters to draw on, never mind the wider story of the Minister and his kind. Might you move into other media such as animation or novels?
We're working on a movie - occasional concept art pops up on our FB page, that's what it's from. I would love to work with Lee Sullivan on a graphic novel when he has time, but for now the next step is the film.
What else are you working on apart from The Minister? What can we look forward to enjoying in the rest of 2013?
The Minister is a mega full time job! I write, produce, direct, I mail out the t-shirts... but as soon as I've edited and put out Episode 5, I'll be full time on the movie. Then who knows!?
Finally, if you were able to spend an evening in the company of any one of the characters from the series, who would it be and why?
Wow... hmm. It's very difficult for me to separate the actors from the characters! I wonder if either The Minister or Kitty would actually be good company! The Minister is pretty haughty and dismissive, but he does know a lot. I don't think he could be bothered to tell you any of it though. Kitty's instant response to anything is to start a fight, so again I'm not sure she'd be much fun. Ironically, I bet Durian, with his automatic charm and charisma would probably be the best company. Paul McGann was talking about the character at BritSciFi3 in Leicester, and he's actually based on Tony Blair. He's charm itself, even though he's a baddie.
We suspect you’ve made the right choice, thank you very much for your time and good luck with Episode 5 and the film.
My absolute pleasure.
For more details, visit THE MINISTER OF CHANCE homepage HERE.