Former English teacher Percy Lallemang, pictured, has been making films with friends since he was a teenager in the 1980s
Photo: Percy Lallemang
Luxembourg writer Percy Lallemang tells Delano about how a chance walk near a Luxembourg pond inspired his award-winning screenplay, “The Agony of Angels”.
Jess Bauldry: Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from and what do you do for a living?
Percy Lallemang: I studied in the UK (Canterbury BA and Edinburgh MSC ), I love going to the cinema, reading and writing, going for walks in the woods, travelling around the Northern European and American hemisphere, the Steampunk movement, driving American muscle cars and collecting and shooting replica weapons of the Wild West. I used to be a teacher of English for 18 years and have now been in charge of one of Luxembourg’s largest regional museums in Peppange for the last 5 years.
I’m also the former chairman of the British Luxembourg Society and am going to be married this summer.
Where did the idea of the story behind Agony of Angels come from and how did it evolve into a TV series screenplay?
I got the initial idea for “The Agony of Angels” during a walk in a wood near Crauthem in Luxembourg when I came across a large pond where some twigs from a dead tree were sticking out from the water right in the middle of it and suddenly I got this image in my head of a skeletal hand sticking out among those twigs and the story about a serial murderer grew around it along with a remote memory of a childhood incident which I’d thought I’d forgotten about.
I just love those Nordic noir novels and movies (Jo Nesbo among others) and enjoyed reading stories about private investigators (Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, for example) when I was younger. I can also name the Charlie Parker novels by John Connolly as an influence.
I chose to write my story as a screenplay because I'd written screenplays for my own movies before and kind of felt at ease with the format. I usually see my stories as a film before my eyes anyway when I write. I thought the TV format fitted this type of complex narrative and would like to see it told across three, 50-minute episodes.
How did you get into screenplay writing?
I got into screenplay writing along with the production of my own films. I’d been making movies with friends ever since I was a teenager in the eighties when the Luxembourg film industry started to bloom and we had dreams about becoming film directors. Unfortunately, life intervened and I ended up being a teacher instead which was OK, also because it allowed for some extra time to continue to make movies with the help of my students as school projects.
I always wanted to tell my own stories or adaptations so I’ve been writing them up as screenplays all the time. I never got to do it professionally and we never had an appropriate budget, though.
My last two productions “Symbiosis”, a modern-day adaptation of “Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde” from 2007 and “Hellriders”, a trashy guerilla-style low budget post-apocalyptic western from 2011, can be viewed on Vimeo. I’ve given up on the idea of directing but am going to continue to write screenplays.
How has “The Agony of Angels” been received?
When I wrote “The Agony of Angels”, I decided to write it without any restrictions in mind (no worries about how this or that could be shot as a scene with a low budget), as a professional screenplay. I wrote 3 versions of the thing altogether and my future wife as well as a couple of dear friends proofread it and then I heard about some international online competitions and I thought why not take part and hand in the final version?
I took part in 5 competitions and won 3 prizes (2017 Platinum Screenplay Award winner of the International Independent Film Awards Competition, finalist in the 2017 Golden Script Competition and semi-finalist in the 2017 Creative World Awards Screenplay Competition) as well as a publishing deal at Amazon worldwide by Dizzy Emu Publishing. I sent a couple of copies to a few Luxembourg based directors/producers but haven’t heard back from them yet.
What are your next plans in terms of writing and filming?
Although “The Agony of Angels” has an open end, I’m planning on making Sam Miller’s continuing adventures into a trilogy, so two sequels are already in my mind (“The Ecstasy of Demons” and “The Revenge of the Reapers”) and they’re going to become increasingly bleaker—I’m drawn to dark materials.
I’ve also recently begun writing a Steampunk Western screenplay entitled “Silver Soul Creek”, which is a tribute to classical western legends the “Magnificent Seven”, “High Noon” and “Tombstone” by adding typical steampunk elements mixed with colourful characters. Unfortunately, my job doesn't allow as much time for writing as I’d like to have but I’ll be keeping at it.