LONG ESTRANGED from his widowed mother, Keegan Dark is blessed with the uncanny ability to remember his life in videographic detail. This is both a blessing and a curse, keeping him at odds with his family and loved ones. Returning home with his boyfriend in tow to make amends with his mother, he’s shocked to discover she’s remarried. His family now includes a step-father and step-brother — and Keegan quickly surmises they aren’t up to any good. His investigation into their past is derailed when his mother drops into a coma, his boyfriend seemingly leaves him and the town’s sheriff targets him as the most likely culprit. With allies scarce and time running out, Keegan must fight — and use his remarkable mind — to unravel the secrets that threaten to destroy him.
We’re stuck with our families. But if it’s any consolation, our families are stuck with us. That was one of the ideas I wrestled with in creating this story: family. Since we don’t get to pick the family we’re born into (if you did, let me know how you swung that; there’s a movie there) we all hope that we get a beautiful and supportive one, something out of the best sitcom or Disney Channel movie. We’re afraid we’ve gotten some monstrous, a nightmare of Shakespearian proportions, full of dark people with darker desires. Yet most of us get something in the middle, some complex collection of bits of all the above, plus a whole host of things we’ve never seen or heard of before. It’s rewarding at times, but quite maddening in others. Worse, just when we think we’ve figured out our birth family, it goes and changes on us, be it through death, divorce, adoption or remarriage.
But there’s another kind of family we get: the chosen one.
These are the people we let into our life willingly, lovingly, hopefully for the better. These people are often a still greater mystery. Like our birth family, these people just won’t leave us, no matter how much we want them to, how much distance we put them, or how hard we try to forget about them. They shape us in just as interesting and unique ways as our birth family. We love them all, constructed or consigned, even when we aren’t sure why. These relationships live in our mind. They live in the memories, emotions and experiences of everyday life. Indeed, most of our memories are about our families. We often strive to recreate the best memories of our birth families with our chosen circle — and will frequently flee back and forth between both kinds when the crushing burden of our thoughts and emotions force us to find solace somewhere.
The blessed thing for most of us is, no matter how tough our thoughts and memories are, we at least forget things. We forget the wrongs done to us by those we love. We forget the wrongs we did to those we love. We have to. It’s the only thing that keeps us sane. But if you couldn’t forget, if last year was just a real as the last hour, you might just go mad. And that is the second fascinating element I wanted to explore.
In telling the story of The Dark Place, I wanted to put someone in the middle of those interlocking who couldn’t forget. Who experienced every joy and pain constantly. Being the slightly demented soul that I am, the only way to make that even more intense is to add someone trying to kill the protagonist, for painful reasons all their own. Lastly, just to play fair, I had to make sure that person was every bit as brilliant, intelligent, perceptive and totally fucked up as Keegan Andrew Dark.
My Directing Debut…
THE DARK PLACE was the first project I ever pitched in Hollywood, over a decade ago. I was incredibly happy to finally stand on the set the first day of shooting, watching it come to life at the hand of another director (no, really!)
And then (to be dramatic — and hey, why not?) on the fifth day of shooting, danger struck. The production capsized when the director, became ill, was hospitalized, and couldn’t return to the project. The whole indie project was dead…or was it.
I gulped, took on directing duties, righted the project and pulled off the rest of the ambitious 20 day shoot. Didn’t know I had it in me. Funny how that works.