Richard Eden : «I instantly fell in love with Montmartre.»

 By Nicolas, exclusively for Santa Barbara : le site Francais, September 2020

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On September 15 2020, Richard Eden gave us a second interview, 11 years after the first one, to talk to us about his project of series shot in France, Montmartre.

How did the idea of this series about painters and artists in Montmartre before the war came to you ?

When I was in Paris with Todd McKee, the first time any Santa Barbara cast members went to France, Ciné Revue Magazine took us to lunch to Montmartre. I instantly fell in love with it. Afterward, the guide spoke to me about the Montmartre artists in the 1900s, when they were young. The stories fascinated me - especially those of Pablo Picasso and Amedeo Modigliani; two very opposite men.
When I came home, I found an old book by Andre Salmon in the library called Modigliani, A Memoir. The book and its fun characters hooked me. Years later, my wife Shannon Hile (married 27 years !) and I wrote a screenplay about the young Modigliani (Modi).
Then we thought, what a fascinating television series this would make. So, we expanded our story to include painters, writers, and poets of the period. JP Sarni (Stampede Ventures) had worked with us on another project and fell in love with Montmartre. He has been a tireless champion of the series ever since. We are very fortunate to have him.

What role will you play in this project ? Will you reserve a part in the series for yourself ?

Shannon and I are the series creators. We will be working behind the scenes to help bring our drama to life. At some point, sure, if time permits, I might pop in for a cameo.

When will you shoot it? Will the shooting take place in some parts in Paris itself ?

We are currently discussing various locations. But of course, Paris would be ideal.

Do you have an idea of a release date yet ? And of a channel which will air the series ?

Not yet, Nicolas. So much is in flux due to the pandemic. Slow but steady.

I didn't know you were fond of paintings. Do you have favorite painters, favorite styles ? Did you already try to paint by yourself ?

I don't paint, but art awakens my soul. My wife Shannon is a painter. I love Amedeo Modigliani, Paul Cézanne, Chaim Soutine, and early Pablo Picasso, namely his Blue Period.  Shannon loves the classics as well as American artists Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jackson Pollak. I also love the Renaissance art as well.

What are your upcoming plans relating to the series ?

We would love to film some of Montmartre in Montmartre. Many viewers (both young and older) are probably unaware of how this group of young rebels changed art and culture. The series is a drama with humor and, of course, joie de vivre. It's about these young, passionate people who have come to Montmartre, Paris, from across the globe to pursue dreams. Each episode, the leads are dismissed, especially our female lead, Beatrice Hastings. But they continue to try, living in harsh conditions while their goals of Paris glitter below. Yet among the unbearable heartaches, there will be moments of joy and comraderies.

"To be here at this time was bliss. To be here and young was very heaven," said William Wadsworth.

We will bring you their love affairs, ground-breaking work, triumphs, and heartaches as any Soap Opera must. And transport you right into Montmartre's rowdy, lusty neighborhood. The idea of bringing Montmartre to an international audience is beyond exciting.

You said you may do a cameo in the series. Do you think you could propose to other former Santa Barbara partners to join you too, even for small parts ?

Regarding using Santa Barbara cast members... They are, without question, an incredibly talented group of people. I would be thrilled to have a chance once again to work them. Having reunited with Nicolas Coster has been a joy.