Interview with Screenwriter Cal McGhee (EVE)

1. What is your screenplay about?

‘Eve’ is a socially conscious psychosexual sci-fi thriller, a modern update on the greek myth of Narcissus – telling the story of Anna, an autosexual geneticist so toxic and narcissistic that she has repelled all her friends and family. Misunderstood and lonely, she clones herself and finally finds the companionship she has been looking for. Their profound, mystical bond escalates into a passionate love affair that threatens to destroy her family and professional reputation for good, while unearthing long-buried secrets from the past. Seeing herself up close and personal for the first time, she begins to see the metaphorical cracks in her own reflection… As tensions rise between Anna and her increasingly unstable clone Eve, she is faced with a harrowing dilemma; Eve knows everything about her, remembers all her lived experiences, and now has the power to use this against her. Locked in a game of cat and mouse, their affair comes to a shocking crescendo that changes Anna’s life, and view of herself, forever.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama, Sci-Fi, Erotic Thriller

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

In an era where we carefully filter and photoshop ourselves on social media to portray the best version of ourselves to the world, and where all that seems to matter is the beauty of the surface rather than the ugliness beneath, ‘Eve’ explores the qualities of ourselves we cannot see or refuse to acknowledge until they are right in front of us. It takes ‘Sartre’s Look’ and updates it in contemporaneous terms through the modern possibility of cloning, examining the duality that exists within us all, and how the two sides of ourselves are in perpetual fight for control. As ‘narcissism’ itself becomes more of a hot topic, it has never been more important to question self-obsession and what this means for those around us. Never before has society been so self-obsessed, with every facet of our day strewn across multiple social media platforms for all to see. We favour modern individualism over collectivism, are blind to our own actions, and have lost a sense of empathy or relatability to other people. We all think our ways are best, our personalities the most sparkling. If we could be a better version of ourselves, we would be. We see advice on how to start loving ourselves everywhere, but what if some of us take that uplifting advice a little too far? Can we really understand who we are until we see it before our very own eyes? And could we harness lasting change from that?

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

Cerebral, sharp

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

The Lost Boys (1987)

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

1 year

7. How many stories have you written?

Hundreds – in different states of constant development!

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

Tough one! I haven’t heard an 80s song I don’t love. Lately, the one I keep going back to is Big Audio Dynamite – E=mc2, albeit a bit obscure!

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

The pandemic actually proved to be beneficial as it provided me more time to sit down and edit. However, since I deal with scripts heavily as part of my full-time job in film/TV development, sometimes the last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was open up Final Draft and stare at another script. Separating your professional and personal life is more difficult when they both mesh into essentially the same hobby, but I don’t view writing as ‘work’ at all. It’s still my favourite thing to do.

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

I love making art, graphic design, pitch decks, etc. As much as I love writing, I find it’s always helpful to add visual components as well where possible, either in the form of a lookbook/moodboard or a pitch deck. I spend a lot of time scouring certain photography accounts and cinematography compiling images that work well for film/TV pitches, or at least inspire or resonate with projects on the slate. It’s simpler to practice writing as a craft, but directing is a whole other ballgame. There is definitely a ‘twinge’ of a director in me, so it’s a shame it’s not something that can be easily practiced in a professional capacity. I do love being on set though, as you can indirectly shadow the director and see how they put their skills into motion.

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

FilmFreeway is invaluable for the burgeoning screenwriter. I’ve already amassed a great deal of accolades in a short period of time and there is nothing quite like the notification you get when a submission is successful! It gives me the option to filter festivals on criteria I’m looking for, and I can easily keep track of upcoming deadlines and estimated festival responses.

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

I thought the script would resonate with the objectives of the festival and was interested to see if the sci-fi elements were strong enough to qualify for that genre, as it is a project that is tonally diverse and doesn’t quite fit as easily into one genre as my previous scripts. I was delighted with the initial feedback I received and felt the team really understood and connected with the script on a deeper level, which is hard to obtain given the sheer quantity of scripts that are submitted. On a personal level, the feedback chimed with me in terms of which areas could benefit from revision, so it was reassuring to know I was on the right track.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A narcissistic geneticist ignites a passionate affair with her own clone, and soon begins to see the cracks in her own reflection.

Narrator: Geoff Mays
News Reporter: Kyana Teresa
AVA / ADA: Julie Sheppard
RENNER: Sean Ballantyne
ANNA: Hannah Ehman


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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