'Lucky Stars' & 'Family Secret' - the outlines

 

Lucky Stars

 

Seb Shakespeare is a struggling screenwriter, abandoned by agent, Producer and girlfriend. His family want him to give up the dream and come back to the family business, but he gets a spectacularly lucky break when he wins £20,000,000 in the lottery. Finally able to realise his dream, he funnels his winnings into producing his own feature film. However, Seb is desperate to be taken seriously,  wanting it to seem as though his film has succeeded on its own merits, he goes to great lengths to conceal the source of the money. His best friend Milly comes along for the ride, she brings in her uncle, dodgy accountant Julian Holland, Julian is to mask the origins of the film's finance. Hiring an actor to masquerade as the investor, Seb and Milly manage to get Hugh Grant on-board to star (a decision which threatens Seb's recently-adopted teetotalism!). However, other forces have designs on Seb's millions. Milly's uncle is dodgier than they realised, they caught up with the dark doings of his secret lover, wanted gangster Anderson, Julian Holland plans to steal £15,000,000 of Seb's money for a bent insider-trading investment. Anderson's brutality knows no limits. When a couple of coppers tip Seb off that Holland is not what he seems, Anderson kidnaps Milly (ruthlessly killing his own lover when he starts to object), and uses her to strong-arm Seb into transferring his funds. Seb goes in alone, too distraught at the danger Milly faces to wait for the police to arrive on-scene. Anderson forces Seb at gunpoint to make the transaction on a laptop, shooting Milly in the knee to show he's serious.But the police have
been listening in through Seb's phone, and at the crucial moment, a SWAT marksman manages to kill Anderson. The movie closes on Hugh Grant's star turn in a new movie not Seb's original screenplay, but a dramatization of the events we have just witnessed. He's made it!

 

                              

A Family Secret

 Julian Scott is a down-on-his-luck filmmaker who, desperately seeking material for his big break, seizes on his own family's dark history.

 

As the divorced father of a young son, Julian is under increasing pressure to abandon his filmmaking dream for a more conventional career. However, his mother Anne reveals to him her desire to track down her son, Julian's brother Nicholas. Nicholas left his wife and family more than a decade earlier, disappearing without a trace, but the aging Anne has a secret she needs to impart before it is too late; she is not his real mother.

 

Hard-drinking and desperate, Julian leaps on the chance to make the documentary of a lifetime, encouraging Anne to embark on the search for Nicholas - and let him film the process. Winning over the rest of the family is a little more difficult, especially the Irish family Nicholas abandoned, his wife Clare and student-aged daughters Becky and Emma. Clare and Becky feel that Nicholas has no place in their lives, but Emma's desire to meet her father wins the family to Julian's side.

 

However, family isn't the only obstacle. Rejected by every network he approaches, Julian has turned to shadier avenues for the £40,000 of funding he needs. Loan shark Ed Sale has cinematic aspirations and is happy to front the money, but payments must be made on time - or else.

 

Ed lends Julian the services of Private Detective Brendan James, apparently as a personal favour. Brendan leads the family on a search for Nicholas, through Paris, Marseille and Gloucestershire, uncovering darker and darker secrets at every turn.

 

In Fontainebleau just outside Paris, Brendan and Julian find Marie Bertrand and her family. Nicholas had a child with Marie in a bigamous second marriage, and another child in an affair with a neighbour, before once again picking up and disappearing. The pattern is disturbingly close to Julian and Nicholas' own philandering father. Julian and his mother follow the trail down to Marseille, apprehensive of what they may find - Anne is less and less keen to continue, and is becoming more and more distracted in her old age, but Julian pushes the family on, thrilled at the footage he is getting for his film. Afraid that the family might jump ship, he hides from them the shocking information he is uncovering about Nicholas' life.

 

Meanwhile, Brendon is reporting back to Ed Sale, using the loan to gain leverage over Julian in an attempt to win more creative control for his boss, who harbours dreams of being in movies. Julian is also growing close to Marie, despite harbouring faint hopes of reconciliation with his ex-wife Helen, and when he and Marie drunkenly sleep together, tension between him and Helen is ramped up even further.

 

In Marseille, they find to their surprise that Nicholas had become a beloved teacher in a school for abandoned children. Appalled at this dark irony, the family probes deeper - and discovers that throughout his childhood, Nicholas was abused by a family friend, lawyer Jack Black. Anne is shocked - she herself had had an affair with Black to spite her husband, a serial philanderer from whose ex-wife she "bought" Nicholas for £500.

 

Julian calls in a favour from a mate in the police, Kaspar, now a DCI, to track down Jack Black, and finds out that a mystery assailant murdered the lawyer some years ago. Nicholas' vengeance?

 

Nicholas, it transpires, has moved back to England to settle down with yet another family in Gloucestershire. He has finally found stability, after putting his past behind him in Marseille. When his past comes running up to him in the street outside his house, camera crew in tow, he turns and flees. The emotional trauma of finally seeing her son for even that brief moment, tips Anne over the edge, and she slips into near-catatonic senility.

 

Julian has all the footage he needs, but the loan repayment deadline is looming, and Ed, who dreams of becoming a big-shot movie mogul, puts pressure on

 Julian to hand over equity and creative control over the film. When Julian refuses, Ed threatens to kill him, but it's a sting; Julian has sold Ed out to his DCI friend Kasper, who's keen on bringing down Ed's operation. Scot-free, Julian finishes the film - his first success.

 

Eventually, after recovering from his shock, Nicholas tracks Julian down in an attempt to find their mother. Julian tells him the family secret, but Nicholas is unfazed. His tormentor, Jack Black had gleefully revealed the truth of his parentage years ago.

Anne is in a care home, broken by the shock of the discoveries she has been forced to make, unresponsive, recognising neither friends nor family. But when Nicholas comes to visit, she smiles at last.