... I was feeling nostalgic for a place,
my fictional recreation of Marudi, that had never really existed.
In later years I would find myself regularly revisiting my memories of The Diamond of Jeru and remembering how much I had enjoyed "living" in that world during the time I had worked on the novella and then writing and producing the film. I even took an extended vacation back to Australia and New Zealand. One afternoon I walked around downtown Brisbane and stopped off at the old parliament house, the building we had used for the Marudi District Officer's Residence. Since there were no events planned, it was locked up, seeming almost forgotten. I sat on the back porch until the sun went down feeling very strange, disconnected from some reality or unreality; it had been a fictional place in my fictional world ... I was feeling nostalgic for my fictional recreation of Marudi, a place that had never really existed.
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After finishing Son of a Wanted Man, I was asked by an executive at Random House Audio if I had any plans for another Dramatized Audio. I was happily surprised because I hadn't been sure that they'd actually want another. Thinking about it I decided I didn't want to do another western but I did want to do something that had a very distinct sound and was definitely existed in it's own time and place.
Several possible stories were considered but rejected because the time needed to get a script together was too great or they didn't have the right mixture of characters ... I especially wanted to have a strong female lead. Since I already had written the movie script to The Diamond of Jeru, I figured that could become the foundation for an Audio Play as easily as had Son of a Wanted Man. Sarawak of the 1950s would surely have it own wonderfully exotic palette of sounds, the sense of the time period in the dialogue would be as distinct as a western, and the sound of mid twentieth century technology seemed to be rapidly becoming as out of date as that of the nineteenth! In many ways it was perfect.
While the film script for The Diamond of Jeru had to run 89 minutes, the finished Audio was required to run around twice as long. That difference would allow a lot more room to expand the story so I could play with several themes and aspects of the plot that would add breadth and depth to the story. I got in touch with USA Cable and we quickly came to an agreement for me to use the script (which was their property) as the basis for an Audio Dramatization.
As I started filling in the additional material it was amazing how several of the characters, particularly Raj, Inghai, and Jeru, came to life in completely new ways. The Audio Play ended up being just as much an adaptation of the film script as the film script had been an adaptation of the novella ... each wonderful in their own way but also a completely separate beast.
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