Interview with Screenwriter Mike Meier (The Love Hex (or Nicest Flings in Mexico))

1. What is your screenplay about?

The Love Hex or Nicest Flings in Mexico is about the many things in life we don’t quite understand, such as love, enchantment, and magic spells. I don’t quite understand them either, so don’t ask me what love is, how enchantment comes about, and if magic spells really exist.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I see it as a comedy or rom-com, even though the story also explores more profound thoughts about the nature of human relationships. In the mix are the relationships of couples, between friends, and between relatives.

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

I think moviegoers would see it as a refreshing break from the typical films being made today. The protagonists are two women who suddenly find themselves liberated in a different country in the late 1920s, and they show genuine appreciation rather than disdain for other cultures. This is a perspective that is sorely lacking in the current political climate. Overall, I hope it conveys a positive image of Mexican culture. By the way, while I took a few liberties so that the story flows better, the historical facts are largely accurate, such as the preceding Cristero Rebellion and the Hotel Peñafiel. And yes, it is said that the Hotel Peñafiel was really haunted by a barefoot ghost girl.

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

Nostalgic romp

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

The 1988 animated film My Neighbor Totoro. I must have watched it 50 times or more with my kids. It is a post-war story of a family who move to the countryside. Their two young daughters befriend the wood spirits. It must have influenced me somehow, because The Love Hex also includes the connection between reality and the spiritual realm.

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

A very long time. This goes back to the early 1990s, when as a law student I listened to a program on National Public Radio (NPR) in which a young lady discussed some of her social studies research for her PhD thesis. She mentioned that in the earlier part of the century, American women often traveled to Mexico to engage in illicit relationships with young Mexican studs. I was intrigued.

Years later, I tried to find that young lady and her research thesis. NPR does not archive programs for that long. So I contacted libraries and went through listings of PhD theses, but could not locate it. If I had, I would have saved myself months of research. Nonetheless, the research gave me the opportunity to learn more about Mexico and its history.

In the early versions of the screenplay, no one died. However, on a flight back from Europe a few years ago, I sat in the midst of the U.S. Olympic skiing team. During the eight-hour flight, I chatted with the young Olympic skier next to me, and I told her about my story idea. She made the point that “to have a passionate story, someone has to die.” I gave this a great deal of thought, and eventually decided to kill off Rose’s jealous husband.

With COVID-19, I found myself suddenly without work. So I pulled the old draft out and continued writing, first the screenplay, and now I am working on turning it into a book. The book will be published in 2021.

7. How many stories have you written?

Over the years, I’ve drafted about a dozen stories. COVID-19 has given me the opportunity to focus on writing. My dystopian sci-fi book JoinWith.Me just got published

(see https://www.amazon.com/JoinWith-Me-you-want-see-future-ebook/dp/B08FB72J8T/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=joinwith.me&qid=1600344653&sr=8-1).

I am working on publishing The Love Hex as a book (scheduled for January 2012, see https://www.amazon.com/Love-Hex-Nicest-Flings-Mexico-ebook/dp/B08HY8HQ4W/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+love+hex+meier&qid=1600341451&sr=8-1).

I am also working on two more screenplays, both thrillers.

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

I have two songs on the guitar that I practice in the morning while my computer starts up, Sisters of Mercy by Leonard Cohen (because it is beautifully written), and Darkest Hour by Arlo Guthrie (the guitar picking part is very hard, so I practice it often).

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

Life got in the way; that’s why it took me more than 25 years to finish it. I wrote the first draft in the early 1990s, but did not have time to even think about it for years. Years later, I wrote a little more after the Olympic skier suggested that someone has to die in the story. Off and on I added a few ideas. Several years ago, I sent a draft to my old friend Thomas to hear his opinion. When my regular job came to a standstill with COVID-19, I finally had time to focus on the story.

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

Passionate? Maybe “focused on.” I have been playing guitar since early childhood. I am largely self-taught, but when I lived in Argentina, I studied with one of the great tango guitarists at the time, the late Carlos Luna. Everything that I can do on the guitar is thanks to him. So I start each day by stumbling to my computer with a mug of coffee. I push the “start” button on my computer, and play guitar while my computer starts up.

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

My experience has been positive. FilmFreeway makes the submission process much easier, and I can easily upload revised versions of the screenplay. Also, because FilmFreeway allows the upload of related documents and links, it encouraged me to create a poster for the story and a website (https://TheLoveHex.com).

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

The festival is a great opportunity to receive feedback and some attention. The initial feedback was generally very positive and encouraging, but pointed out that there is room for improvement. Thus, I sat back down and reviewed the comments. I did take the feedback into consideration and made a few improvements (I hope). After all, as Hemingway said, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.”

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

New York in 1929, shortly before the Great Depression. Rose is unhappily married to a mobster lawyer. She suffers from early-onset arthritis. Her doctor recommends a hot spring treatment. Her friend Alice, recently widowed and a mother of three, suffers chronic fatigue. Eventually, both travel to the hot springs in Mexico and hook up with two young gigolos. The days are jolly until on the Día de los Muertos, when Rose’s jealous husband arrives out of the blue.

CAST LIST:
Narrator: Allison Kampf
Rose : Hannah Ehman
Spencer : Allan Michael Brunet
Ramiro : Scott Beaudin

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