Archive for Atlantis

Johnny Mackintosh: The Movie

Posted in Movie News, television with tags , , , , , on May 2, 2013 by keithmansfield

I wrote much of Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London while working for the British Film Institute and, probably inevitably, many sections ended up in quite a cinematic style. Scenes such as leaving Earth in the space elevator, or when the Spirit of London unfolds over a drowning Atlantis, or Johnny being chased through prehistoric jungle by a tyrannosaurus rex, were all very visual in my mind’s eye.

Johnny runs from a T-RexAs a lover of film, it was always my hope that the books would one day be transferred to the big screen, but it still came as a surprise when I was approached by a production company, keen to make this happen.

When you’ve worked in film and television as I have, you know it can take forever for a movie idea to become reality, and most will fall by the wayside, but it’s still tremedously exciting and the production people have a track record of getting things done. I’ve taken a few day’s holiday to think about how the film would work, and script a few key scenes, to help the process along.

Influences on Johnny Mackintosh: Edith Nesbit

Posted in Battle for Earth, Influences, Writers with tags , , , , , on August 30, 2011 by keithmansfield

One of the great things about books is how long they last. We’re still able to read stories from thousands of years ago, many of them being continually remade as films or television stories. One book that made a lasting impression on me as a child was something that was written over a century ago: Edith Nesbit’s The Story of the Amulet.

The book features some brothers and sisters who acquire an ancient amulet that will apparently give them their hearts’ desire – to be reunited with their parents. But there’s a catch. They only have half the amulet and only when whole will their wish come true. But there’s hope because the amulet can form into an arch through which you can cross time and space. Sound familiar? Of course Clara Mackintosh is always creating such archways, which she models on the Arch of Lysentia that she and brother Johnny pass through in the Spirit of London.

What was great about the stories was how the children affected time through their travels. For instance, I think when they were being held prisoner in ancient Babylon they showed their prison guard a twopence piece and that was apparently how the Bablyonians came upon the idea of a minted coinage/currency.

*****SPOILER ALERT – DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU’VE FINISHED JOHNNY MACKINTOSH AND THE SPIRIT OF LONDON*******

Along the same lines, something that always stayed with me was when the protagonists travelled to Atlantis. They were there right at the end of the legendary city and escaped through the amulet’s arch just in time. This was very much my inspiration for having Johnny and Clara visit Atlantis and do a very similar thing. And another example, similar to Nesbit’s weaving in the Babylonian coinage, was the way I had Johnny wipe out the dinosaurs by accident, being responsible for diverting an asteroid onto a collision course with Earth.

***********END OF SPOILERS******************************

There’s so much great new writing nowadays that it can be easy to forget the classics of the past, but Edith Nesbit was a great writer and definitely deserves to be read and remembered. She also wrote The Railway Children, which is always being performed on stage or serialized. Tomorrow though, I’ll bring us right up to date with unquestionably the biggest influence on Johnny Mackintosh and the publishing phenomenon of recent times.

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