Burnley scriptwriter heads for Hollywood

Screen writer, Chris Lunt.
Screen writer, Chris Lunt.

From Briercliffe to Hollywood.

The man behind ITV’s gripping new drama “Prey”, starring John Simm, has become every inch a wanted man in his own right.

While viewers await the fate of fugitive detective Marcus Farrow in Monday’s final episode, Chris Lunt will be jetting off to Hollywood to begin scripting a reboot of 1960s spy thriller “The Saint”, which starred Roger Moore.

It caps a remarkable few months for the 42-year-old writer, who only started writing professionally in 2010 after being made redundant from a job at CGI firm Red Vision.

“It’s just been incredible,” said Chris, who lives in Briercliffe and works out of an office above his partner’s studio, Touch Hair and Beauty, in Colne. “Every review has been fantastic, five stars. The best thing is that the viewers stayed. Six million started watching it and six million were still watching it at the end. It was a thrill to see it with the adverts and everything. I’d only seen the final version once. Episodes two and three, I’ve only seen about 90% of the finished products so it’s exciting for me as well.

“I turned Twitter and Facebook off while I was watching it. I had pre-match nerves but because it had been getting good reviews beforehand I wasn’t sat there terrified.”

And although the glowing reviews show no sign of slowing up, Chris is certainly not resting on his laurels.

When his plane touches down in LA on Monday, he will be walking into the opportunity of a lifetime following a meeting with film producer Brad Krevoy.

“The Saint got put across my agent’s desk as these projects do. It is one of the first series I remember watching as a child with my dad. I love it and so I told my agent you have got to get me on this. This was before ‘Prey’ had come about so Brad Krevoy had only seen the script and he liked it. He was unsure though because I hadn’t really done anything else.

“We managed to get a meeting with him in London about five weeks ago. I had written a mission statement about what I wanted to do with the character and how I wanted the show to go. Fifteen minutes later and he said he wanted me to do it. He said 50% of the battle was enthusiasm and I had that in spadefuls.

“I’m going to America for five days to start work on episode one with screenwriter Ed Whitmore and then I’ll come back and we’ll work on it together over the summer. I’ve been told that Roger Moore is happy with the work I’ve been doing as well, so that’s a real honour.”

Unbelievably, the meeting with Brad Krevoy wasn’t even the most exciting thing to happen to Chris that day either.

“Brad said he wanted to carry on talking to me but had to go another meeting so he asked if I would go with him. While I was sat the bar waiting for him I saw JJ Abrams (co-creator of “Lost” and director of the new “Star Wars” films). I couldn’t believe it. As Brad walked back over he shouted ‘hi JJ’ and went over to him. I ran across, elbowed Brad out of the way and introduced myself. He was great. He spoke with me for a few minutes and told me to make sure I sent him over a copy of ‘Prey’ when it comes out on DVD.”

There was only one left thing left to ask Chris when we wrapped up the interview. Does “Prey” have a happy ending?

“I’m not telling,” he laughed. Find out Monday.