Fun fact: I often imagine an actor’s voice in my head when I write. It helps me find the character’s pitch and consistency in their speech pattern. In this case, the voice of choice was George Clooney. I named the character “George” so I knew which voice to listen to in my head. The name stuck.
I once shared an early draft of No Lies Told Then on a screenwriting website where writers post their work for other writers to review. The feedback was invaluable in helping me flesh out this character, and it was interesting to read some of the perceptions of George even though I was deliberately vague about one thing I particular.
Before the feedback, George was a handsome, charming, successful and wealthy author. However, several people pointed out he needed to be more than those things. They were right and that’s how he became a British expat and acquired more talents; he needed traits other than the obvious to make the protagonist and audience fall in love with him.
He is purposely mysterious in the beginning. He’s the man we meet in the bar who says all right things and oozes confidence and sex; the perfect potential one night stand. He’s the fun guy who doesn’t have a care in the world and possesses the unique ability to make every woman who enters his orbit feel like she’s the most important person in his life. He has perfected the art of saying everything yet nothing at all; always the life of the party and a nurturer in his own way. It’s something that works very well for him for most of his life.
Like Johnathan, there are some things I’ve known about George since day one and the most important is the influence of a key figure from his past. I knew she left him wounded, perhaps fatally, but the who, what and why couldn’t be revealed too early. In our own lives, it sometimes takes years to understand how our past has left us scarred, so in that way, George is like all of us.
George may look like a man who has it all together, the reality is he is anything but; he is coming apart at the seams. His lonely existence works for awhile, but when Sandra enters his life as a woman who is his equal in every way, he begins to question if the way he has lived all these years is the path he wants to continue to travel.
Just as Sandra must take her own journey to discover who she is and what she wants, George must do the same. To move forward, he has to rid himself of the demons of his past. As an audience we experience his “ah ha” moment with him. I never expected him to have this moment, but his role in the ending evolved so organically, his story couldn’t remain unfinished.