Late on a cold evening in March, I encountered the woman who inspired “Other People’s Kisses”. She was drunk, miserable, homeless and clearly in need of help, and in my semi-inebriated state I decided to try and help her.
That night she slept on a bed made from spare blankets and cushions in a pair of my pyjamas.
The following day was spent attempting to secure her a safe bed for the night, which proved harder than I had ever imagined it would be. I still don’t know if she was successful that night, or on any of the nights since then.
I learned a deal from her about the judgement, prejudice and isolation inflicted upon those who need simple kindness, and when the 50 Kisses competition launched, she immediately came to mind. While kisses are something trivialised or romanticised by those who receive them with monotonous regularity, it is easy to forget about those who are rarely kissed or shown any tenderness at all.
To my delight, a dear friend agreed to play the part of Marianne in Simon Foster’s film. She has brought authentic warmth and vulnerability to a character who is not easy to empathise with, but just as deserving of kindness as all beings are. All too easily our fates can change; no-one chooses desolation after all, and it is very exciting for me to have this film included in such a ground-breaking project.
Early on when the script was still without a maker, I was even considering editing it to include martial arts , as had been suggested by a director in Canada. Who knows how that may have turned out? I am certainly learning how dangerous it is to become too emotionally attached to your script once there is a chance it will get made, and know that I am going to have to be far more open to them from here on! However, I am glad that Simon’s vision matched mine, and know it will stand as a suitable tribute to Marianne, and others who are kissed too rarely.