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Richard Kelly Discusses "Domino," Working with Tony Scott, and "Southland Tales"

Kelly on the Script for "Domino," the Real Domino Harvey, and "Southland Tales"


Keira Knightley in Domino

Keira Knightley stars in "Domino"

© New Line Cinema
Richard Kelly on Earlier Drafts of “Domino:” “I never saw [them]. I was hired originally by Fox to write a complete original script. I think there was a couple of writers who did earlier drafts that I never saw. Tony [Scott] had been developing the project for maybe seven or eight years since the early 90’s, and I know that there had been a couple other drafts of the script that people had done but I never saw them.

Zach Schiff-Abrams called me up and pitched me the story. I immediately was taken by that one-liner: ‘Ford model, comes to Beverly Hills, becomes a bounty hunter.’ And that one-liner sort of inspired me. Then I came up with this whole… Zach sent me all of her biographical information and all the transcripts that Tony had done and all the interviews with her and all the people and I just came up with a take on how to tell her story and pitched it to Tony. He liked it and we brought it to Fox and Fox bought my pitch and then hired me to write the script.”

Spending Time with Domino Harvey: “Yeah, I spent about two hours with her. Zach, when did I get hired by Fox to write the script [in] 2002, probably…it was after ‘Darko.’ [Kelly confers with Zach and decides it was 2001 when they met] 2001 we met at Sundance and it was later that year - I wrote it in 2002. So yeah, we met sometime in 2002, probably, just for about two hours. I interviewed her and my biggest thing was you know, we’re gonna be tongue-in-cheek, we’re gonna kind of wink it, we’re gonna open the film with ‘This is based on a true story, sort of…’ and be sort of like upfront about the fact that we were gonna tell her story as a fabrication or as a satire, kind of.

It was a tough story to crack, I think. I don’t know, I never read any of the earlier scripts. I think they were completely different. It was always a great story. I mean, she came over from London and her mother married Peter Morton and then she was at Beverly Hills High School for like a summer. And then I think she was just always getting in fights and always just clearly didn’t fit the norm. She became a firefighter for a little while and then she basically saw the ad in the paper - just like you see in the movie - and got hooked up with Celes King the Third, bail bondsman. I’m rambling on….this is the longest answer to a question – I’ll just shut up.”

Did Domino Harvey See the Film She Inspired Before She Died?: “I think [asks Zach for confirmation]… Yeah, she saw it. She was at the set quite a bit, and she was in Vegas and she was at the wrap party and she has a cameo in the film. Yes, I believe she saw the film.”

On How Her Death Will Affect “Domino:” “Well, I don’t know. I don’t know. What I know is New Line is releasing it now in October. I haven’t seen Tony’s final final cut. I’ve only seen his different [cuts]. I’ve watched the film about five times with Tony over the process of finishing it. So I can’t speak for exactly what Tony’s doing.”

Has He Been Called in for Re-Writes?: “No, there has been nothing. To my knowledge, nothing about the film has changed or will change based upon what has happened. But like I said, I haven’t seen the final film so I don’t know. I can’t comment officially on that, but the film I know that there were never any re-shoots or any things done or changed based on the circumstances of Domino having passed away. To my knowledge, everything is the same.”

Richard Kelly on the Film’s Dark Tone: “It is a very subversive film. Talking Zach last night, we were like kind of amazed that the film even got made; that this film got made because it’s very subversive I think. For like a $15 million studio release, it’s probably been since like maybe ‘Fight Club’ or something, for a major studio to release something like this. It’s a real roller coaster ride.

I like to describe it as punk rock more than anything because I think Tony has a real punk rock spirit to him that sometimes gets maybe lacquered with the commercial kind of sensibility, but it’s always there. He’s always had it there, I think, going back to like ‘The Hunger’ and ‘True Romance.’ You see it emerging in his work. But I think in this film you’ll see the real kind of, like the seditious emerging. Tony has a fearless, punk rock sensibility - he’s not afraid of anything - and it’s a British sensibility. I think Domino had that and I think she was very much kind of like a daughter to him and he knew her, knew her family, watched her grow up and I think they were very close. I know he’s enormously saddened with her having passed away…”

PAGE 2: Richard Kelly on Tony Scott's Influence and Keira Knightley as Domino Harvey

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