Having his short story Clive adapted into a full-length feature film is a thrilling prospect for Mt. Pleasant and Eglinton author Richard Todd.
He shares his delight over a coffee, tucked in the corner of a small chain shop. The Gen Xer is swallowed by the leather chair but continues to speak of the road ahead, which involves working with writer-director Maninder Chana.
It may not be the first time a filmmaker has taken an interest in the 2010 published vignette — French filmmaker Jerome Martin
approached Todd last year — but he is still tickled by the prospect of his work being on screen.
“I’ve had a few people say it would be a great film because the story is so nicely encapsulated and has a great theme about it,” Todd says, his eyes widening. “I’m thrilled in the fact that [Chana] is that interested in bringing my story to life.”
Clive is a tale of two different men in mainstream society. Simard grapples with mental illness and wants to return to group treatment instead of being placed on pills and ignored by the medical system.
Clive has “the dream life: muscular guy, good-looking, beautiful wife, nice home, manicured lawn — the whole ideal.”
“You see, Clive refuses to see the suffering around him, so when he sees the main character, Simard, he doesn’t want to know he’s there,” Todd narrates. “He doesn’t fit into that lifestyle that Clive thinks people should.”
The theme of marginalized people factors into Todd’s writing. It was in his first novel, Raincloud, which was self-published in 2008, and in The Orphans of the Creek, which came out in 2012.
“The Orphans of the Creek is more of a psychological drama, with some violence and a little bit of blood,” he says, a mischievous
grin developing. “But the monsters in my books are almost always human.”
Though the horror genre creeps into the conversation, thrillers are more Todd’s speed and have been since he was 8 — when he wrote about his own version of the Hardy Boys, and made his first self-published book for his father, Norm Todd, then a librarian at Pierre LaPorte Middle School.
When he’s not bashing away at the keyboard, Todd runs the Editor’s Desk, a company that offers editing services, screenplay coaching and translation.
Todd also dabbles in altruism. In December he initiated Pay It Forward Coffee Day — Warm It Up!, an event where he bought 10 cups of coffee and handed them out to homeless people.
“I really like helping people,” he says. “A lot of my writing has people who are being marginalized, and being respected by what a lot of people would call mainstream society.
“It harkens back to something like Prometheus or even Frankenstein. The monster would look at Victor Frankenstein, ‘Okay you made me, now you abandon me? Why was I born? What did you put me here for?’
“That thread has always fascinated me, and it shows up in a lot of my writing — a search for meaning.”