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All Quiet On The Western Front writer went through incredible amount just to get film made

All Quiet On The Western Front writer went through incredible amount just to get film made

She's spent years trying to get it off the ground, having gone to extreme lengths to pay for the rights each year

All Quiet on the Western Front made history yesterday (Sunday 19 February) when it scored the highest number of BAFTAs for a foreign language film, having scooped no less than SEVEN awards - including the big one: Best Film.

Directed by Edward Berger, the movie is based on the world-renowned best-seller of the same name by Erich Maria Remarque.

It follows the gripping account of a 17-year-old German soldier on the Western Front of World War I, with a synopsis from Netflix saying: “Paul and his comrades experience first-hand how the initial euphoria of war turns into desperation and fear as they fight for their lives, and each other, in the trenches.”

The success has no doubt been hugely validating to writer Lesley Paterson, who has spent years trying to get the film made - even turning to extreme measures to get it funded.

Speaking to press at the BAFTAs, Paterson revealed it took 16 years to get the movie off the ground, having capitalised on her background as an athlete to help raise money.

Lesley Paterson with the award for Adapted Screenplay.
PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

She said: "I'm actually a professional triathlete and a five-time world champion - that's my other career.

“In order to maintain the option for the novel, I had to win races. One specific race that I think the media has picked up on, which I love, is; I actually broke my arm the day before a race and raced it with one arm and managed to win it.

“And as a consequence we were able to maintain the options. We've really fought to get this film made.”

After her acceptance speech was cut down for the live BBC broadcast, Paterson was invited to reiterate her points on BBC Breakfast this morning.

“I would say never give up on your dreams, fight for them all the way regardless of how big those dreams seem to other people," she said, continuing to say it had been a 'tough journey' to get the novel made into a film.

Paterson went to extreme lengths to get the movie made.

Speaking about using her triathlon race winnings to renew the rights deal each year, she mentioned a particular race in South America that had been especially difficult.

“I went into this race needing to win the money to pay for the novel and I actually broke my shoulder the day before the race," Paterson said.

“I needed the money but between my husband and I, we figured out can I actually get through the race with one arm?

“So I swam a mile with one arm and the other arm by my side and I propped my hands up on the handlebars for the bike and walked down any of the technical descents and then ran into the winds.

“So it was overly dramatic, a little bit like a movie itself to be honest.”

Paterson shared a smiling selfie last night.
Twitter/Lesley Paterson

Thankfully, it’s more than paid off, as the film has not only been inundated with critical acclaim, but also huge levels of praise from fans - some of whom have pointed out that it wasn’t that long ago that she was at awards dos for a very different reason.

One tweeted: “I am in awe of Lesley Patterson. Scottish athlete turned writer who wrote and part-funded the film @allquietmovie. Years ago she waited tables at the Oscars and now she is up for one! Incredible!”

The writer has received huge levels of praise from fans.

Indeed, as detailed in BBC’s 5 Minutes On, Paterson signed up for a catering agency to make some cash, and found herself waitressing for the Hollywood elite.

“I waited tables at the Oscars, and had Judi Dench on my table, and Jennifer Lopez,” she told the radio programme.

“I was so excited, because you’re seeing all of these massive stars, and it’s just so bizarre.

“But what’s even more crazy is that now I’m meeting them as peers.”

Watch All Quiet on the Western Front on Netflix now.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Lesley Paterson/Netflix

Topics: TV and Film, Netflix