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Submitted by visitors to this website

Posted by Lucia and Federica

November 10th 2014

Dear Mr Nicholson, We are two students of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. We were at your lecture two weeks ago, and we found it very inspiring. We have really enjoyed the film Les Miserables, so much so that we both have started reading the novel. Moreover, one of us has just graduated with an essay precisely about Les Miserables. We were very touched by something you said during your lecture: no man is evil in the depth of his soul. This sentence inspired us a few questions that we would like to ask you. Has your catholic background had a part in forming this belief of yours? In fact Catholicism asserts that man is essentially good (as God created him in his own image and likeness), although he can be tempted into sin, under particular conditions. We have also noticed that this is exactly the principle that informs Les Miserables both as a novel, a musical and a film. What was working on this film like? Do you think that the value-system emerging from the film represents your own? And now just one last question. We have watched the film almost ten times each, so we have a curiosity – a very small thing – to solve: when Jean Valjean was caught by the police officers and taken back to the bishop, Mons. Myriel told him: «I have saved your soul for God», while in the musical and in the novel he used another verb – more prosaic maybe, but very evocative: «I have bought your soul for God». Why this switch of words? Thank you very much for your kind answer and for your meaningful lecture too, Kind regards, Lucia Masetti and Federica Villa

William Nicholson responded:

I go further: I believe no man is evil, full stop. People do evil - a different point. I take issue with the Catholic Church on this. The church teaches that man is sinful, and needed to be redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I believe none of that. But to Les Mis: Victor Hugo is the man you should be talking to, but he's no longer there. The morality in all versions of the story is his. I share it wholeheartedly. As for the switch of words, the final film lyrics were all determined by Alan Boublil and Herbert Kretzmer, and only they will know the answer. My guess is they thought the audience would find the concept of 'buying' a soul offensive. I agree with you: I think 'bought' is stronger.

Posted by Rosie Semlyen

November 3rd 2014

I'm doing a project for school on Nelson Mandela and my grandma suggested contacting you, as your cousin Jane is her neighbour, at Brinkworth! I would like to know what you found most interesting about his life and I understand that you never met Mandela, so I was wandering why? Thank you!

William Nicholson responded:

There's so much that's interesting about Mandela's life. Where can I start? I think what most impressed me was his insight that his enemies, the white South African government, were more afraid of him than he was of them. That made it possible for him to remove their fear, and open the way to a free society. And yes, I never met the great man. When I was due to meet him I had a car accident and was smashed up; and later the opportunity didn't arise. I was very aware that everyone wanted to meet him, which was a burden on him. I saw no reason to add to that burden.

Posted by Mr Les Grice

October 28th 2014

No question, but wanted to tell you how thrilled I was to hear you speak at the London screenwriters Festival. I met a fellow lady writer about 30 minutes before your talk during a break and she was wondering which session to attend next and I sort of talked her into yours. At the end she thanked me for much but mainly and simply for the one piece of inspiration and advice she gained from your wonderful talk. You are a gentleman and a scholar and I hope that will not be the last we see of you at LSF. Maybe next year?

William Nicholson responded:

Thanks. I never quite know how useful what I'm saying is, so I appreciate your post very much.

Posted by Nick de Grunwald

October 24th 2014

Not really a question, but a statement of appreciation. Finally got round to reading "Rich and Mad", it's just great. Pretty much perfect. I could empathise completely with all the characters, Maddy's friends, Max, Pico particularly, and both the main characters are quirky and funny and I became more and more involved in their lives.... wonderful.

William Nicholson responded:

You're one of a select few. I don't quite know why, but Rich and Mad never quite took off. I was hoping it would be read in every school in the country. So it goes.

Posted by Gbenga

October 21st 2014

I would love to send William nicholson an email about a very important issue. Please can I have his personal email address so I can get my message across to him. It is very important. Thanks

William Nicholson responded:

I pick up these website posts myself, but I don't really like sending out my personal email address. Can you give me some idea (via this site) what it is you want to contact me about?

Posted by Joseph DeGolyer

October 20th 2014

This isn't really a question, but I found your site after looking for a DVD of Firelight, which I guess is only available in Chinese... Last week I watched your film in a Film Analysis class at Utah Valley University and I was thoroughly impressed. It's a really good film. Everyone had tears in thier eyes when my professor turned the light on. Anyway, I just want to say thank you. -Joe

William Nicholson responded:

And thank you, too. It's strange, isn't it, that the only DVDs seem to be Chinese-made? God knows why. I love the film, and it really pleases me that it lives on, by whatever means.