Interview with Screenwriter Ronald V. Micci (MARLISE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Ronald V. Micci: A fragile lesbian and her sister who are in financial straits. Marilise, one of the sisters, is very vulnerable and finds herself the object of more than one set of affections, tearing her between her jealous sister, Leigh Ann, and a number of women. When well-to-do older lesbian seduces Marilise at a garden party, this causes friction with her sister. On a picnic with the older woman, Marilise must break the fact to her that their relationship can’t go on. She pursues Marilise on bike, and is killed in a road accident. Her twin sister seeks revenge. At first Marilise believes she is being haunted by Alisa, the dead woman. She consults a psychiatrist. But in fact, she is being haunted by the dead woman’s twin sister, who is intent on getting revenge and killing her.

Another woman who has taken Marilise under her wing betrays her, and has set her up as a target in a cottage on Montauk Point. But the police have gotten wind of the twin sister, and they are in a race against time to save Marilise from being murdered. The story culminates in gunshots and death on the beach at Montauk. Ergo, this is a love story and murder mystery combined.

2. What genre does your screenplay fall under?

It’s both love story and crime drama (murder mystery).

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

Mostly because it has a genuine emotional core. Most films today are lacking any true emotional basis.

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

Emotionally engaging.

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

The Best Years of Our Lives

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

The screenplay was finished several years ago. It began as a screen short, then I expanded it.

I usually write and rewrite and polish until every beat of the script is as
perfect as it can be (this is the equivalent to probably half a dozen times).

How long this takes can vary. As far as I’m concerned, I’m pleased with the script and it is finished. (It got Honorable Mention, or at least a shorter version of it did, in a screenplay competition in New York several years ago. I subsequently fleshed out a couple of scenes when it appeared that a film student was actually going to shoot the thing.)

7. How many stories have you written?

Three novels, about 60 one-act plays, four screenplays, four screen shorts, two sitcom scripts, a one-hour pilot script.

8. What is your favorite song?

Too many to pick a favorite. Any of the great show standards.

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

Nothing more than the usual grind of writing a script. But a critical turning point is when Marilise is betrayed by another woman who has taken her under her wing. That car scene surprised even me, and added a great twist and suspense to the denouement. It just kind of came out of nowhere.

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

Jazz and classical music, and playing the flute

11. What has been your experience working with Film Freeway?

Actually, I submitted several scripts via the specific contest websites rather than using the generic Film Freeway format, which seems to have locked one script in and which I couldn’t defeat.

12. What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I thought the feedback was benign and it was clear that they had actually read the scripts. A couple of things eluded the reader, and I never did get feedback on the Marilise screen short submission, probably an oversight. This batch of readers seemed pretty on the ball, didn’t seem to “get it” in only a few

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A gentle lesbian love story between two financially strapped sisters in their 20s in the Hamptons turns deadly when they seek the assistance of an older woman, who comes between them romantically, and whose sudden accidental death leads to a revenge killing and murderous shootout on Montauk Point.

Crime

CAST LIST:

Jeffrey – 1 – David Occhipinti
Leigh Ann – 13 – Ella A
Narration – Michael Ruhs
Marilise – 52 – Barbara Bergeron
Alisa – 57 – Carrie Schiffler

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