2005 Snapshot Archive: Grant Watson

Interview by Ben Peek

Borderlands #4Grant Watson is part of the editorial committee at Borderlands. It sells for ten bucks. I just love that cover.

1) Borderlands. Has the reception for it been what you expected? Give us a bit of a run down on what you did expect, if it went that way, if it didn’t, and what’s the idea you’ve got for the future?

Well the first expectation, which I think was one of the worst-kept secrets in the Australian SF small press, was that what we now know as Borderlands 1 was originally intended as Eidolon 31, so I guess there’s a big gap in expectation versus reality right there.

I suspected very early on that we would wind up being pidgeon-holed somewhat as a journal with a fairly dark tone, more horror and scary SF than bright shiny spaceships and unicorns. That suspicion seems to have largely come true, but I like my fiction fairly dark anyway.

I’ve been disappointed at our lack of local awards, to be honest. We’ve yet to manage a Ditmar or Aurealis nomination, despite making Ellen Datlow’s recommended reading list several times. In the balance, though, I know which I would rather have…

Overall I’m very happy. We’ve edited five issues of what I think has been some of the strongest genre fiction Australia’s had in the past few years. I’m proud!

2) Your script work (plays, tvs). To be honest, I’ve only the vaguest knowledge of what has been done, so give us a run down of what you’ve done there and what what you look to put in your work?

Frames (1997), Degree Absolute (1998, re-written 2002), The Angriest Video Store Clerk in the World is not a Number (2003), You Only Rent Twice (2004), Serpentine (2004).

A Primitive Othello (1996), Hamlet (1997), R3 (1998), Much Ado About Nothing (2000), Hamlet (again, 2001), Nineteen Eighty Four (2001), Frankenstein (2002), Mapping Lear (2003).

The Angriest Video Store Clerk in the World (TV pilot and series treatment, 2004).

As for what I try to put into them? Enthusiasm, mainly. Despite my current TV comedy work I generally enjoy writing dark, confrontational scenes. Good arguments. People shouting at each other in dark rooms.

3) You really can’t be honest about Keanu Reeves getting better for each film, can you?

Absolute I can. What I appreciate about Keanu is that for many years he has successfully balanced making populist, easy-to-act comedies and action flicks with challenging roles in serious dramas. So he’ll go off and make Bill and Ted, and then try to stretch himself in Much Ado About Nothing. He’ll make Speed, then turn around and do A Walk in the Clouds. He’s a very understated actor, which I think many people confuse with “wooden”, and I really don’t think that’s the case. Constantine and The Matrix are great examples, where if another actor played the role they would have chewed the scenery.

4) You’re dead. Film critics beat you senseless for your wild theories on Keanu. You go to Heaven (assuming there is, you believe, you could afford, blah blah) and there’s God. You say?

“Holy fuck!!! You’re REAL?!!!!”

5) Favourite swear word?

Probably fuck. Bollocks and shite if said by an authentic Scottish accent. I believe that the Scottish accent was invented for swearing. Or swearing was invented to accommodate the Scottish accent. Either way the two go hand in hand like the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the English language.


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