International Disruptor: ‘1917’ and ‘The Good Nurse’ Author Christy Wilson-Cairns on Collaborating with Top Creatives and Her Mission to Empower Young Talent Through Her Banner Good Company

Welcome to Deadline’s International Disruptors, a feature where we spotlight key executives and companies shaking up the offshore marketplace. This week, we’re talking to Christy Wilson-Cairns, the Oscar-nominated writer behind the film. 1917, Last night in Soho and last year’s starring Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne good nurse. We sat down with the Scottish talent to talk about how he collaborates with big directors like Sam Mendes and Edgar Wright, his new outfit Good Company and why. he Plan to pay it forward.

If you’re unfamiliar with the word gallus, you haven’t met Christy Wilson-Cairns. The Scottish writer uses the word colloquial to describe himself when reflecting on his experience working on the popular long-running Scottish detective series. TaggartThe summer he was 15 he was shooting in his Glasgow neighborhood.

“I was in a place where I needed to be,” Wilson-Kearns recalls. “I didn’t know where, but I was in a hurry to get there.”

Fascinated by the day-to-day operations of how stories were made for the screen, Wilson-Cairns returned to the set daily (uninvited) to ask questions of crew members and absorb the busy work behind the rolling cameras. “Finally, they said to me, ‘Well, if you’re going around, would you like to give us tea and coffee?’ And I said, ‘Sure – no problem.’

It’s this kind of intelligence combined with a virtuosic talent that has made Wilson-Cairns one of the hottest screenwriters in the business right now and has seen her work alongside heavy hitters like Sam Mendes, Edgar Wright, Tobias Lindholm, John Logan, Darren Aronofsky. And now, Taika Waititi (he’s currently co-writing her star wars project).

His debut feature 1917, which he co-wrote with Mendes, earned him an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA Award. Meanwhile, projects like fantasy-horror-romance Last night in Soho and last year’s Netflix crime-thriller good nurse Further establishing him as a writing talent capable of collaborating with the industry’s top creatives. In 2020, he and producer Jack Ivins founded their company Shingle Good and signed a deal with Universal Pictures to develop and produce high-quality content.

When Deadline sits down with Wilson-Kairn in her London Soho office, it doesn’t take long to see why these leading directors and companies want to work with her: she’s whip-smart, confident yet self-deprecating and brimming with ideas. Plus, he’s pretty funny – the kind of guy you could spend hours chatting to over a pint at a pub (though he’s drinking his favorite tipple, Kimura, a Japanese soda, during our interview).

“In this industry sometimes you get showered with some magical luck,” he says, reflecting on his career to date. “And that’s what happened to me — it was one good thing after another.”

Born in Glasgow, Wilson-Cairnes originally went to university to study engineering, but his Taggart The experience encouraged him to pursue a career in entertainment. After completing a film degree in Scotland, he moved to London to study at the National Film and Television School. “I had ambitions to tell these big stories and I was trying to find a place to put them.”

While studying, he worked as a bartender at The Toucan, an Irish pub in Soho, which will be featured later. Last night in Soho. His sci-fi thriller script Ether 2014 produced The Black List and sold it to Film Nation, which eventually led to his meeting and signing with CAA’s Tiffany Ward and John Cassir.

He often credits the people he’s worked with as the mainstays of his trajectory, and says his reps are what pushed him into the business. “They had a lot of confidence in me, and they said to me, ‘Why don’t you write big movies?'”

when Ether Never made, he soon landed a spot as a staff writer on Neil Street/Showtime’s third season Penny is awful And said its creator, Logan, was a “fantastic mentor” whose faith in his writing had a tremendous impact on him.

‘The Good Nurse’


Meanwhile, Aronofsky brought him on to adapt Charles Graver’s non-fiction serial killer book. good nurse, his latest production effort from his banner Protozoa Pictures. It followed Charles Cullen, who admitted to killing 40 patients in his 16-year nursing career (ten times the actual number) but Wilson-Cairns was most drawn to Amy Laughrane, who managed to bring down Cullen, a fellow ICU nurse.

“She’s a very small part of the book and I remember reading it and thinking, ‘I have no idea how I’m going to tell this story.’ And then you meet her, and I was like, ‘Oh, what’s her story?’ He is the most interesting person.”

While researching the script, she worked for two weeks in a burn unit at a Connecticut hospital, where she was exposed to the “incredible manual labor” involved in nursing as well as the huge cracks in the American health care system.

“You think of nurses getting punched in the forehead and that sort of thing but some of them are moving the bodies of huge men to wash them and some of the patients even fight them. It’s crazy how sanitized our version of them is. Rarely are those women shown as heroes, so it became a crusade for me.”

Although the project was led by Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain seven years before it came to fruition, Mendes, whom he met through his work. Penny is awfulwas affected by his treatment for good nurse and offered to give him some notes.

“We really hit it off,” he recalls. “It was a creative collaboration that was really fun. Sam has such a brilliant mind but he’s very generous with it. The script had this fun game of table tennis right off the bat.

Mendes was keen to find a project to work with Wilson-Cairns, and two attempts were made for it (an adaptation of Gay Tales Voicer Motel and an adaptation of an Invisibilia podcast that both diverged) earlier 1917 came to the table

“He told me, ‘This is a World War I movie based on my grandfather. Do you want to come to my house and we can talk about it? Oh, and by the way we’re doing it in one shot.’ I just thought, ‘Shit, that’s cool.’

The two came up with the story outline in just two days. It will follow two young British soldiers who are given an impossible mission to deliver a critical message to another battalion. Amblin Partners bought the spec in a bidding war before Wilson-Kearns took her mother to France to map out how the story would work in one shot.

That trip was a wonderful experience for Wilson-Cairns, who was just 28 years old at the time. “It’s horrible because every 250 yards there is another mass grave for young men, who were much younger than me. Each time it took us about half an hour to compose ourselves, but the landscape was so beautiful and natural and full of cherry blossoms. I wrote the script because I was seeing all this.”

Mendes, meanwhile, introduced her to Wright, and the pair hit it off “like a house on fire,” as Wright described it to Deadline last year. After a pub crawl around Soho’s seedy hangouts (starting at The Toucan where, incidentally, Wilson-Cairns was still working), Wright called him a few months later to ask him to help with what would become his original idea. Last night in SohoA psychological thriller about a young girl transfixed in 1960s London by her late mother who thrives and dies. At the time, Wilson-Cairns was preparing 1917 But jumped at the chance.

From left: Director Edgar Wright and writer Christy Wilson-Cairns, on the set of “Last Night in Soho.”

Focus feature

“I had been working for over ten years and had probably written eight scripts and then these two came together – it’s like the bus,” he quips. Wilson-Cairns spent his days in World War I and his nights in Soho’s Underbelly, with a two-week overlap in shooting there.

“It’s been an incredible few years,” she says. “Eventually you forget that these are incredibly impressive people and you level up in this room, which is really special for their part.”

It’s clear that Wilson-Cairns is a true collaborator and has deep respect for the writers and directors he works with, but chalks it up to being “lucky enough to work with the right people”.

“A lot of people I’ve worked with don’t have egos in the sense that they don’t mind me fighting them – and I fight them.”

He added, “I don’t mind being wrong and I don’t mind being criticized for my work. But if I fight for something, I fight in a way that they really have to consider and I have to consider why I’m doing it. I’m quite a people person so if I’m really digging into something and I spend a lot of time thinking about why I’m digging into it, I have to ask myself. But I am not insecure in my position. I’m happy to meet people and have difficult conversations. The people I work with either know me or they move on.”

Being on set is an important part of Wilson-Cairns’ creative collaborative process. “Things change when they are filmed. Sometimes it is by miles and sometimes it is by millimeters. When a film is shot, having a writer gives you a lot of damage control because if something gets cut, I can change things and save the story if the director allows me to – it’s always a conversation.

He added, “During the process you have to put aside your ego and forget the script exists. The script is not something to be proven right. The script is a blueprint to create.”

Though he can’t divulge much, including projects in the pipeline star wars project, (“I’m bubbling up a few things, a few TV shows, a few films”), he is keen to emphasize the sense of responsibility he feels in giving opportunities to young talent through his Good Company banner.

He is working on a TV project to bring in new writers and new directors to give them the same opportunities he had Penny is awful. “You learn on the job and find what you’re good at and grow at it.”

He added, “It’s important that we start creating these opportunities where people can fill the gaps and move up. Building those pipelines is very important to me. I always try to give agency to my characters so it’s important that I do the same for those coming into the business.”

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