Cheating is a short dark comedy about, well… cheating. It’s late at night and two couples have just had dinner. Then one of the men, Nick, announces that his partner Cat has been cheating on him. She claims she hasn’t been cheating and after some confusion, Nick explains that he caught Cat holding hands with another man, which in his eyes is cheating. But for Cat, it’s not. This drunken accusation descends into a farcical argument about their various different perspectives on what cheating actually is. For Charlie it’s sex, for Nick it’s physical contact, and for Cat it’s sexual contact but for Emma it’s just spiritual: Emma claims you can have sex with people but not connect with them spiritually and not be cheating. At this point, Charlie discovers that his wife Emma has been casually sleeping with other men and he freaks out. And at this moment both couples discover to their horror all of them are cheating with each other in one way or another.
The following part of the article is about how Harry ter Haar, the writer of the original story, came up with the idea of Cheating. How it went from a thought out of the blue, to the theatre and then later ending up in the upcoming short film Cheating. Enjoy. “This idea popped into my head one day with a question: What is cheating? And what if you married someone who had a different idea of what cheating was to you? Thinking about it some more, I realized I could break the idea down into three or four parts: spiritual connection, sex, sexual contact and emotional connection. I then wrote a first draft where all couples argue over dinner about what cheating meant to them but as I got to the end I realized it might be more interesting if they are all cheating on each other, with each other, in different ways.
I am very passionate about and inspired by films which are dialogue driven, such as Glen Gary Glen Rossor any works by Aaron Sorkin or Woody Allen. I love films with complex or quirky characters, who have really strong perspectives and perhaps ironic or conflicted views on the world, and tell that story and have the characters express themselves through snappy and rhythmic dialogue. These are the films I aspire to write and so this play was a perfect way for me to express myself in this way and write something inspired by my favorite writers such as Mamet, Sorkin and Allen. I then submitted this play to a theatre competition and it was one of the winning plays, which was staged at The Bunker Theatre in London. It received great reviews and I then decided I wanted to make it as a short film.
About a week later, by chance, I met Viktor Leandersson (director and producer) who said he was looking for a short film to make ‘for the love of making a film’ and he asked me if I had anything and I sent him the script and it went from there! As a writer, I was thrilled to meet another filmmaker who ‘just wanted to make a film because making films is just awesome.’ Viktor said he could put a production team together if I found great actors. We both stuck to our sides of the bargain and now the film is set to be shot this weekend with an incredible team and with some insanely talented actors on board.
I am particularly happy to have Polly Attala on in the cast as she is one of the most talented actors I’ve ever worked with and because I specifically wrote the part of Cat for her. Polly was also kind enough to read my first early draft of the script and gave me some brilliant notes for my re-write. I’m so thrilled to have Matt Kyle on board playing Nick as he is a hilarious rising star and myself and Matt love working together and have been wanting to act opposite each other for a couple of years now. I’m also thrilled to have Nina Hatchwell on board to play Emma. Nina is unbelievable at comedy. I first met Nina when casting a sitcom pilot of mine. I loved what she did in the audition and we also have been in discussions about what we can do together for years since then so I am so thrilled to be able to finally cast her and work with her on this. All three actors were my first choice for each of the roles so I can’t believe my luck that I got my dream cast. I am playing Charlie, so I just hope I don’t let the side down! I love acting in work I have written and discovering the story from an actor’s perspective, whilst working with an outside director who can lift the script to become something better than it is on the page, and I’m thrilled to see that Viktor is doing that and much more!
As a writer I love seeing what a good director can do with my script and I’m over the moon that Viktor is directing this piece as it’s so much richer with his vision than I could have imagined. The very early version of this script was meant to be a no-budget short film for myself, Matt and Polly so I am kind of shocked and over the moon that it has turned into a much bigger and more exciting production than I could have imagined! ”
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