‘Lilies’ is a romantic comedy, set in a heightened, ever-so slightly fantastical world in which the characters and setting are larger-than-life, but the emotion is very much down to earth. In this story of horticultural espionage, Philosophicus is a renowned botanical genius. Lily has been sent to spy upon him & learn the secret of his success by Declan Montego, owner of a rival garden centre. At first Lily pretends to fall in love with Philosophicus, but then accidentally finds herself falling for real. Torn between betraying her love and the employer she fears - and is threatened by - Lily is forced to make a choice. The night before the Beautiful Gardens in Bloom Contest, she tearfully confesses to Philosophicus that she has been deceiving him. Astonished, hurt and confused, he realises that her love is now true and that she has risked all for him. Together they concoct a plan to confound their common enemy... The next day, at the contest, Declan is crowned the new champion, courtesy of Philosphicus’ secret formula. However, all is not as it seems – he has been double crossed – and the two lovers walk off into the sunset as Declan’s empire collapses.
The story is inspired by the tale of Samson & Delilah, as found in Judges chapter 16, in which Delilah betrays her lover and brings about his destruction by seducing him into revealing the secret of his great strength. Philosophicus - our Samson - has great (horticultural) prowess, and his secret formula has made him unbeatable. It has also brought him a powerful enemy - Declan & his franchise of gardening centres - who would love to discover the secret of his success and bring about his downfall. Enter Lily, our Delilah, working undercover for Declan on a mission to gain Philosphicus’s trust. For the film I wanted to focus on the nature of the relationship of the two key characters – Lily in particular. How much of their romance was real? How much pretence? How aware was he of her scheming? Was she betraying him under duress? And how did she feel knowing that the more their love grew, the closer she’d be to bringing him down? Traditionally Delilah is a devious, cunning creature. In our sorry we have turned her character on its head to make her fun & friendly – an unwitting pawn in another’s deceptive agenda.