John McKay


Interviewed by James Mottram

What was the starting point for the film?

I thought, What's the point in doing stories about people who are right in the middle of something? It's far more interesting to do stories about people who are on the edge. The starting point with "Crush" is women who are on the verge of "never again". Never mind, "32 and no babies", what about "41 and am I going to spend the rest of my life alone?". It's a starker choice, and seemed to me to be funnier and more desperate.

Do you find it easy to write for women?

I don't know if it comes naturally, but I find it interesting to write for women. I used to write almost exclusively about men. One day I noticed a lot of women were in the audience for my plays. I turned the corner and now I really like writing for women. In fact, I think I have a problem writing for men.

Why did you change the title from its original name, "The Sad F***ers Club"?

I quite happily was involved in changing the title. It was called "Crush" seven years ago when it was a play, which contained the seed of the film. I called it "The Sad F***ers Club", which was a great title for development. Nobody ever put it to the bottom of the pile. When we began to make the film, it became clear that the people who are going to enjoy the film most are women of all ages, but particularly ones over 25. They don't mind reading such language, or hearing it in a film, but they don't necessarily want to say it to a ticket clerk at the UCI!

What convinced you to cast Anna Chancellor?

Anna was the last one to be cast. When she came in and did a test, she just lit up the room. She was terribly sexy and funny, and a complete cow! I was impressed by the fact that she came in and told me it was a terrible script and that the character was badly written!