The Light

Created by Simon Cookson, The Pitch 2012

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A police lieutenant during the Red Scare of the 1950s suddenly rejects his former oppressive ways, but realises the biggest struggle will be to convince everyone else he’s truly a changed man. The Light is a story with, at its core, a conflicted, engaging protagonist with a simple desire - to be accepted - and I think that's something we can all identify with at some point in our lives. I think this story, visualised in the world of the early fifties, can bring to life the zeitgeist of that period, just as Mad Men did with the following decade. Populated with strong yet human supporting characters, it revolves around a clear dramatic and thematic through-line and proposes a simple question - "can a man truly change?" and I would love to see that played out and answered on film. As we follow Merle, from bully with a badge to hanger-on and speaker at The Way, dreaming of jazz and freedom, we witness a seismic shift, both in one man and in a people. The Light is the story of a man with a past that he’s trying to forget, and a society that might not want to let him.

Biblical Connection

The Light is a retelling of the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:1-31, from Pharisee to vocal champion of The Way. The story, and more specifically the character of Saul, fascinates me and always has. What drew me in was not just the conversion itself, but the fact that Saul seemed tragically doomed to be forever followed by his past. He knows “The Way” is the way of righteousness, he is finally a good man on a true path, but the Hellenistic Jews, even some of the disciples he wants to join, just can’t accept that this man is truly changed, and he is shipped away to Tarsus. Saul's world shares so many parallels with the world around us today, but even more so, the McCarthyite early 50s and the climate of suspicion and distrust that permeated that era, when you were either “with us or against us” and when a person could find themselves condemned for years by an action, a word, real, rumoured or regretted. The Light shares many themes with the original story, and some plot-points, but is also its own story, taking place in its own unique, vibrant world.