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    Monthly archive March, 2010

    Virginia Duigan’s Website

    The Leading Man

    Directed by John Duigan
    Starring Jon Bon Jovi, Thandie Newton and Barry Humphries

    Successful playwright Felix Webb has a new play, ‘The Hit Man’, in rehearsal. Directed by his old friend Humphrey, it is already being hailed as a masterpiece; but Felix can’t enjoy his success. He has fallen passionately in love with Hilary, a beautiful, fiesty young actress, and is preparing to desert his perfect family, his wife Elena and three lively children. His intolerable situation is further complicated when Humphrey casts Hilary as one of the leads in ‘The Hit Man’. Enter Robin Grange, a charismatic young Hollywood actor making his London theatre debut. Robin is attractive, charming and dangerous, and soon inveigles his way into everyone’s life. He ingratiates himself with the cast and, quickly grasping Felix’s dilemma, sets about weaving his web of mischief. He suggests that if he were to seduce Elena, she would be distracted from Felix’s affair, regain her self respect, and perhaps even willingly part from the unfaithful husband to whom she clings. Initially Felix is outraged but as the tension mounts with Hilary, reluctant to continue as the second woman in his life, he succumbs. Watching in horror as Elena responds to Robin’s perfectly plotted seduction, and tormented with suspicions that Hilary has also fallen under Robin’s spell, Felix spirals towards a kind of madness. Desperate to regain control of his life, he indulges in a grand theatrical gesture, but fate intervenes, and both Felix and Robin learn that real life doesn’t always follow the script.

    My Favourite Teacher

    Many children who went through Mr Gordon’s school might remember him with a shudder of distaste. He was an intimidating man. Autocratic, domineering, subject to volcanic eruptions of rage in which he would hurl pieces of chalk at the head of any child, boy or girl, who had  driven him mad by – he never hesitated to name it – their stupidity. And not only name it but yell it like a thunderclap. It was the 1950s, and his aim was true. The children were terrified of him.

    At the age of eleven I dimly recognised, although I could not have given it any name, a tortured soul. I was aware, in a childish, confused way, that Mr Gordon was deeply and profoundly unhappy. It was clear that he was an intellectually driven man, humiliated by his modest position as headmaster of a small, isolated village school in a Lincolnshire backwater. It was also obvious that he disliked or detested most children. Their rowdy messiness, triviality, laziness and vulgarity, their very immaturity encountered on a daily basis, kept him in a state of near-constant fury and frustration. He was a man whose civilized values collided head-on with his baser instincts, and fought a losing battle for supremacy. Read more…

    Virginia Duigan

    Virginia Duigan wrote the screenplay of the 1998 movie The Leading Man, starring Jon Bon Jovi, Thandie Newton and Barry Humphries. Before becoming a novelist, Duigan worked as a journalist, broadcaster, editor and TV scriptwriter. She was a regular feature writer on The National Times, and contributed documentaries to ABC radio. She was a freelance contributor to The Bulletin, The Age, The Australian, The Financial Review, Cinema Papers, and in London to the The Observer and The Times. She was Literary Editor of The National Times, and a theatre, book, film and restaurant reviewer. The Precipice is her third novel, after Days Like These and The Biographer.


    Virginia Duigan, author, screenwriter and journalist. Born Cambridge UK

    Attended 8 schools in the UK, Malaya and Australia.
    BA (hons) Melbourne University

    Lived and worked in England, Australia and USA


    UK: Journalist on World’s Press News, Campaign; freelanced for The Observer, The Times.

    Australia: freelance feature writer on for The National Times, The Bulletin, The Age, The Australian, The Bulletin, Cinema Papers, Cleo. Variously theatre, film, restaurant & book reviewer; freelance book editor; Arts Editor, The National Times.


    Interviewer ABC  show Nightcap.

    Co-writer ABC series Lucky Colour Blue, Beat of the City. Script editor/writer Andra. ABC drama script consultant.


    Script assessor, Australian Film Commission

    Original screenplay The Leading Man (directed by my brother John Duigan)


    Days Like These (Random  House Vintage)

    The Biographer (Random House Vintage)

    The Precipice (Random House Vintage)


    French Letters: Notes from a Writers’ Retreat

    Article in The Spectator Australia, Christmas Issue 20/27 Dec 2008

    The single storey, ancient stone farmhouse is surrounded by rolling fields, several miles from the nearest town. It is long, narrow, charming, with more lamps than I have ever seen in one small house. The sleeping quarters are at one end: two bedrooms, and a third double bed in the sitting room. I must walk through Anne’s bedroom and past Caroline’s bed to the kitchen to reach the bathroom. But we are old friends, and this is the third successive year that the three of us have gathered in a wintry landscape to write.

    We are in the heart of rural France. South-west of Paris, only ninety minutes away by train, it might as well be a far-flung province.  The region is called le Perche; tourists come rarely and certainly not off season. When de Gaulle spoke of La France Profonde – provincial, quiet, inward-looking – he might have been describing le Perche, with its sleepy capital Nogent-le-Rotrou, our nearest, internet cafe-free, small town. Read more…