BRIAN GORMAN - WRITER/PRODUCER "EVERYMAN" and "BORDERLINERS"
Interview conducted by Rick Davy. Images (c) Shay Rowan.
Brian Gorman and Rick Davy
'Everyman - The Story of Patrick McGoohan - The Prisoner' is a play and graphic novel, and "Borderliners - True Realities" a graphic novel, are both of interest to 'Prisoner' fans and both the brainchild of Brian Gorman (reviews can be found HERE). Rick Davy caught up with Brian in his home town of Manchester in September 2016, prior to the launch of "Borderliners"
interview began with Rick asking Brian about his first knowledge of "The
BG: I first saw the series properly when Channel 4 showed it in 1983, but I do have some vague memories of its original showing. I was aware of it because of my Dad rather liked Patrick McGoohan, which was unusual as it was rare he particularly liked actors or celebrities, but I think he, as do I, had an admiration for the way he was and the way he performed.
RD: So how did this admiration for McGoohan and the series morph itself into the idea of performing much of his life story as a one-man-play?
BG: Around 2010, I decided to make a real effort with professional acting, artwork, etc. I 46, and thought "It's now or never". I'd seen a one man show about Orson Welles, and I considered that writing myself a one man show would be a good test of my abilities, and be a huge challenge. I thought about people I admired, and McGoohan was my favourite actor (and 'The Prisoner' my favourite tv series). I am of Irish descent, and thought I could do a decent McGoohan voice, plus I genuinely admired him as a person. The Prisoner was such a personal project for McGoohan, and I decided that merging the man and the character (No.6), in a Prisoner-esque setting, examining how his real life was the template for his greatest work, should make for an entertaining and thoughtful stage play.
RD: Your performances were, of course, as intense as McGoohan's own were, I can imagine being the man for an hour on stage was rather demanding?
BG: Very! Frowning hurts! I found imitating his body language wasn't too difficult. We had similar upbringings, and similar temperaments (in my opinion). The most difficult thing was the voice; it's quite deep, and the speech patterns are often broken, staccato, and very precise. I found that I wasn't getting enough oxygen whilst talking almost non-stop for 50 minutes. I soon realised I needed to break the piece up with some sound effects, audio-visual displays, and an interval!
RD: How did things then progress to wanting to do 'Everyman' as a graphic novel?
BG: I've always been torn between acting and drawing as my dream job. Once the stage play proved successful, the natural next step was to adapt it into a graphic novel. In the book I was able to depict all the many characters McGoohan met (and which I had to imitate on stage), and the physical locations. It wasn't a simple comic-book adaptation; I was able to use images as short-cuts, rather than rely entirely on dialogue.
RD: Borderliners is a concept that's been around a while now, I am lucky enough to own one of the original Unico Comics versions from a few years ago, what made you want to resurrect the idea?
BG: I'm like McGoohan! Borderliners has been a pet project for over 20 years, and I've never been able to realise it until now. I had a crack at making a film version over 15 years ago (which still exists somewhere on VHS). Borderliners is my statement on the world. My philosophy and general outlook. The main character uses me as a visual reference, but is also very like the real me. It's my personal 'The Prisoner', and Invisible Six Ltd are my Lew Grade.
RD: I believe both Roger Moore and Ian McKellen have both given their permission for their likenesses to be used?
Yes they have, which is very nice of them. I'm sure they will be happy with the results, although I've not had any direct feedback from them as yet.
RD: So what's next? I know that your play about Joy Division, 'New Dawn Fades' is also going to be 're-tread' as a graphic novel and Joy Division companion, can we expect anything else soon, 'Prisoner' wise?
BG: I'm planning on doing a 50th anniversary special edition of my 'Everyman' graphic novel, with perhaps some new content and an extension of the story, and also a release of the play itself in an exciting new format - watch this space!
Rick would like to thank Brian for his time and wonderful company. 'Borderliners: True Realities' can be purchased from Invisible Six via the PR page HERE.
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