Interview with Screenwriter Adam Lapallo (THE CRIMSON LEGACY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Adam Lapallo: The Crimson Legacy is an original screenplay about a private investigator with a dark past who hunts a serial kidnapper across Richmond, Virginia. His search takes him to the infamous Church Hill Tunnel collapse of 1925, the urban legend of the Richmond Vampire, and the secrets of his own family’s bloody history.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror/Mystery

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

The Crimson Legacy is based on real history. The Church Hill Tunnel, one of the longest railway tunnels in the country, collapsed in 1925 and killed several workmen. The tunnel remains untouched to this day and is a well-known story in the Richmond area. Workmen on the tunnel reported seeing a pale, jagged figure covered in blood fleeing the wreckage of the tunnel, which sprung the popular urban legend of the Richmond Vampire. I collected a wide spread of information on both the Church Hill Tunnel and authentic European vampire lore to create the story. I had the opportunity to interview Teresa Mason, the descendant of the engineer who died in the collapse, Thomas Mason. She agreed to let me use Tom Mason as a character in the script and shared a wealth of information on the tunnel and its workmen, much of which is not known to the history books.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Noir Vampires.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Hard to say, but most likely the Harry Potter films. J.K. Rowling has been a huge source of inspiration to me as a writer for my entire life and I grew up reading the Harry Potter books and watching the movies.

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I developed the concept for The Crimson Legacy in November of 2017, during my senior year of college. I finished a rough draft a month later and by January had a script I was ready to submit to festivals. The script has gone through numerous edits since then, the most recent draft having been finished in July of 2018.

7. How many stories have you written?

The Crimson Legacy is one of five feature-length screenplays I’ve written, in addition to two TV pilots, five short films, three novels, and various short stories.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Probably the soundtrack to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which I often listen to while writing.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Writing The Crimson Legacy proved challenging in its intersection of two large research projects: the history of the Church Hill Tunnel and vampire lore. I wanted the character of Vasile Sangescu to accurately represent the classic image of the European vampire, from Bram Stoker’s era and before. I read the original Dracula and did a great deal of study on the origins of vampire mythology and the many traits associated with them. I learned that modern vampire movies get quite a lot wrong about the original lore, and I set out to portray Vasile as fearsome and mysterious, like Dracula himself or Murnau’s illusive Nosferatu. In addition, I wanted to use this script as a way of shedding light on a unique piece of Richmond’s history. This, again, meant a great deal of research and interviews. It has been a prevailing challenge to keep all of the factual components accurate without interfering with the film’s narrative, but the story I have produced is one I am very happy with.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am a nationally-ranked, three-weapon fencer and a three-time Junior Olympic competitor. I have been fencing for nearly ten years and hold a B-rating in Foil and E-ratings in Epee and Saber. I was the Virginia Division’s #1 ranked Men’s Foilist for the 2016-17 season and am a part-time coach at my local club. I also played live-action Quidditch during my time at VCU, serving as Club Treasurer and eventually Head Coach of the team.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

FilmFreeway has been an excellent resource. It is extremely easy to use and offers a wide variety of festivals and contests. I try to submit scripts through it a few times a month, and it has been instrumental in developing my career in screenwriting.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

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I was drawn to this festival because of the opportunity for prompt, affordable feedback. Most screenplay contests I know charge extremely high costs for feedback with submissions and often take several months to respond, by which point many of their suggestions are made obsolete by updated drafts and changes to the script. I have submitted to this festival several times with multiple projects and have always been satisfied and informed by the feedback I receive.

 

CAST LIST:

Narration – Salma Dharsee
Bill/Vasile – Shawn Devlin
Damien – Zain Warraich

Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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