Skip to main content

TIFF Interview with Screenwriter Paul Laverty (Even the Rain/Tambien la lluvia)

A talk with Paul Laverty, screenwriter of Even the Rain (Tambien la lluvia).

Directed by Icíar Bollaín, (pictured) Even the Rain, or Tambien la lluvia in its native Spanish, was a project some ten years in the making, including a virtual rewrite of the script along with several revisions and edits along the way. For noted screenwriter Paul Laverty, it's obvious the story was more than just another film. "I've been trying to remember... how long it was," he laughs (albeit a little ruefully). "It's a labour of love, and a long obsession."

To really understand his level not only of dedication not only to the script but, as in all his scripts, to an examination of the historic realities it represents, you'd have to jump back a bit in Paul's career. Born in Calcutta to parents of Irish and Scottish descent, he first studied Philosophy, then got a degree in law in Glasgow. It's that work that took him first to Latin America, to Nicaragua specifically during the 1980s - the time of the Sandanistas and Reagan-era U.S. involvement in the "Contra" movement that battled their government. (Remember that old Iran-Contra-Gate thing?)

"I'd been working in Central America for three years. I did some journalism, wrote for newspapers and things - that was before the Internet." He describes watching as the U.S. brought its weight down on the tiny nation under the Sandanistas. "They're a superpower, and this was a country of maybe 3 million people at the time." It not only ignited a sense of having to take action, it ignited his sense of storytelling. "I was infuriated in a way by what I'd seen in Central America," he says. "I suppose I had a real sense I just wanted to tell a story."

Film making seemed the ideal way to bring a story to the most possible people, and fate led him to cross paths with legendary British director Ken Loach, whose own approach seems the perfect fit. "He's not scared to deal with political issues," Paul says, but then adds, "although every film is political. I dislike that false differentiation between 'political' and 'non-political' films. Mainstream film does have a political message - one about the supremacy of young white men and how they can solve all their problems via violence... or their charms," he laughs. "When we talk about these communities (though), it's (dubbed) 'political'."

And so a creative collaboration was born that has to now produced 11 films, up to this year's Route Irish. NB - if you're a Ken Loach fan, director Icíar Bollaín played in his epic Land and Freedom, about the Spanish revolution and the rise of the Fascists - and Paul Laverty had a bit part in it as well.

The story of Even the Rain was especially challenging. "It's a very complex story," he acknowledges. "We're dealing with three stories, actually, in two time periods." First is that of an idealistic young Spanish director Sebastián (played by Gael García Bernal) who wants to make a period film that exposes Christopher Columbus for the gold-mad imperialist responsible for the exploitation and destruction of indidgenous cultures that he was. His producer Costa (Luis Tosar), looking to save a buck or two, decides to film in Bolivia. They arrive there in 2000, at the height of the Cochabamba water crisis - a real life event. The government, at the insistence of the World Bank, tried to privatize the water supply, leading to a general uprising and civic mayhem known as the Bolivian Water Wars of 2000.

Against the historic and current events, the film revolves around the personal stories of the director and producer and how each reacts and evolves as the current realities increasingly infringe on their project. The idealist puts the film above the real people and circumstances around him - the colonialism of old has been replaced by the dominance of today's global corporations - the themes and events all resonate on several levels at once.

"I started the historical version first." When finished that first version, though, something seemed lacking. "Sometimes, it can feel very distant," he says of the historical approach. "The language is very different. Doing it in the 21st century brings it much more into the immediate. Some key scenes were kept - the arrival of Columbus for one."

"I've always been fascinated by how we write the story of our own history," he says, noting that Columbus is still largely revered as an icon of Western culture. "I wanted to show the massive cruelty," he says. Balancing that is the will of the indigenous people. "Resistance is like the DNA of the rock, it runs right through both stories," he says.

The production (the real one, that is,) involved making deals with the local indigenous population, who agreed to appear in the film, along with many other local people. So, other than the leads, many of the actors you'll see in the film are non professionals. "It's a very different aesthetic," Paul says. "You actually see the indigenous resistance." He's enthusiastic about the level of talent, both in the leads and the character roles. "The actors were terrific."

Paul not only draws from experience, but thoroughly researches his scripts, and mentions that the book A People's History of the United States, by Howard Zinn, influenced him greatly during the writing of this script. Catch the film if you can.

Even the Rain / Tambien la lluvia
(Spain, France, Mexico)
Principal Cast: Luis Tosar, Gael García Bernal, Juan Carlos Aduviri, Karra Elejalde, Raúl Arévalo
Producer: Juan Gordon
Directed by Icíar Bollaín
Screenplay by Paul Laverty
Music: Alberto Iglesias


  1. I like the way images are transposed with words to bring the reader into the mindset of the writer. Compelling and interesting.


Post a Comment

What Else Is Hot This Week?

FACTORY presents World Premiere ACTS OF FAITH November 19 to 28 2020 - Free Livestream

 From a media release: World Premiere FACTORY presents  ACTS OF FAITH by David Yee Directed by Nina Lee Aquino Starring Natasha Mumba November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM Streamed live for 6 performances Free of charge TORONTO (October 19, 2020) - To kick off its groundbreaking 2020/21 season, Factory presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19-28, 2020.  Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond. acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in a digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a ques

Blues Single | Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020)

Blues Single Bushwick Blooze Band: Waiting (Independent / 20 October 2020) Stream It From Your Fave Service Waiting is the latest in a string of singles released by Bushwick Blooze Band. The Brooklyn-based blues trio have been performing and recording the blues around the NYC area since 2018. Their first album "Cryin' for the L Train" was released in January 2019, and included covers of famous songs composed by their greatest influencers such as Little Richard, The Allman Brothers Band, Freddie King, and Eddie Vinson.  Bushwick Blooze Band is finishing up the production of their second album "Yes Dear" and unlike the previous cover record, this new album will be their first original contribution to the genres they love. Waiting is an upbeat blues track with a party kind of veneer over solid musicianship. What begins with a classic blues feel transforms into an extended psychadelic flavoured trip. Inventive guitar licks almost make you forget about the virtuosity

Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 Online - PWYC

 From a media release: Batuki Music Society and Alliance Francaise Toronto present A virtual concert featuring Blaise La Bamba & Kotakoli November 7th 2020 at 8:00 PM Enjoy the concert from home! K inshasa’s vibrant nightlife has long been world-famous. It is home to the subculture known informally as the Society of Ambiance-Makers and Elegant People (SAPEUR), which has spread its influence through artists such as Papa Wemba. Blaise La Bamba is part of this scene. He has worked with some of the top names of Congolese music, in particular General Defao. I n 2018, Blaise La Bamba founded Kotakoli , an all-star collective of musicians that perform an energetic mix of Congolese rumba and soukous . In the company of Kotakoli, this veteran musician brings Congolese popular music back to the forefront, with spellbinding dances. The Details Date: Saturday November 7th, 2021  Blaise La Bamba and Kotakoli Virtual Concert Time: 8:00 PM Tickets: Pay what you can This concert is offered to you

CD Release: TriBeCaStan's New Deli Breaks the Time/Space Continuum in New Deli (Feb 7)

From a media release: New Release from Little Known Government of TriBeCaStan : Capital New Deli Found to Have Irregular Time-Space Continuum EverGreene Music - February 7, 2012 TriBeCaStan: News Alert. This morning Aljazzeera reported that the questionable nation of TriBeCaStan ( ) has made scientific breakthroughs in time travel. The unrecognized republic of nomads has broken the code of the time/space continuum. And by broken we mean: it no longer works. Applying sonic techniques once only known to a small group of punk rock shamans, the nation's most prestigious scientific entity, the TriBeCaStani FolkLorkEstra, uses sound alone to simultaneously place listeners in eras separated by decades and terrains separated by oceans. The breakthrough is outlined in an auditory compendium titled New Deli (distributed by the state-run EverGreene Music, set for release February 7, 2012 ), a recording that allows the world to experience a type of soulful networking mor

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020)

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020) New York City based singer and songwriter Shihori's new single Soul Trip is atmospheric and ambient. Interesting rhythms and interwoven melodic vocal lines showcase jazzy harmonic progressions in a slow groove mode.  As a songwriter, she uses electronic effects with impeccable musical taste. As a singer, her flexible vocals range from a sweet soprano to a strong mid-range. A veteran of the Japanese pop scene, Shihori moved to New York City in 2018, a move she talks about in a media release. "I was so surprised when I came to NY for the first time. Independent and strong women are respected and there are lots of different preferences in music and style. I thought, 'oh my God! This place really accepts uniqueness and freedom! I didn't know there is a place like this totally different world that allows you to be yourself. Everybody looks so different. So many races, colors, cultures, fashion, ideas...I am so