Kristin Gore: The veep's screenwriter daughter

Writer and film-maker Kristin Gore talks to Geoffrey Macnab about war trauma, humour and her father, Al Gore

Nailed is the one film by David O Russell (director of American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook) that no one has ever seen. Jake Gyllenhaal, Jessica Biel and Catherine Keener are its stars. This is a screwball political comedy about a young woman who loses her sexual inhibitions after a nail is lodged in her head. She sets off for Washington to fight for the rights of the bizarrely injured.

Fans of American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook would love to see Nailed but, six years after it was shot, the film is yet to be released. "It never came out!" its 36-year-old screenwriter Kristin Gore (daughter of former US Vice-President Al Gore) sighs. "We shot it in 2008 and it still hasn't seen the light of day."

Rumours have swirled that the financiers will release it in a bastardised version later this year. Russell himself quit the project in 2010, and has long since moved on.

Gore takes the disappointment in her stride. After all, this is just a movie and her family's experiences have helped give her perspective. Seeing a film mothballed doesn't compare with her father's experience of having the 2000 US Presidential election "stolen" from under him.

Gore fest: Catherine Keener in ‘War Story Gore fest: Catherine Keener in ‘War Story As Nailed sits on the shelf, Gore has now gone on to make a very different kind of film. War Story, directed by Mark Jackson and produced and co-written by Gore, received its European premiere earlier this year at the Rotterdam festival. It stars Catherine Keener as a war photographer suffering from post-traumatic stress and hiding out in a small hotel in Sicily. This is a very downbeat film, focusing very intently on the grief and guilt of its central character.

Gore thought Jackson's original script was "beautiful and "powerful" but also "grim and difficult". Jackson invited her to help him re-write it. In refining the character of the photographer, she drew on her friendship with American photojournalist Molly Bingham, who was jailed for eight days in Abu Ghraib by Saddam Hussein's security services in 2003.

War Story is a shift from Gore's usual work. A former editor of the Harvard Lampoon who has written several comic novels and was part of the writing team on this year's Oscars show, she is better known as a satirist than for brooding dramas like War Story. However, as she is quick to point out, her 2011 novel Sweet Jiminy touched on a civil-rights era hate crime. She is also involved in the writing of Foxcatcher, a grim new drama by Bennett Miller starring Steve Carrell as John Eleuthère du Pont, the wealthy schizophrenic who murdered Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz.

Four days before shooting on War Story began, with the cast and crew already in Sicily, the financing unravelled.

"It's a common independent film tale... I guess," Gore says. The original producers left the project which was on the verge of being abandoned. She therefore stepped into the breach, helping piece the budget back together.

"I accidentally produced it. I hadn't even planned to be there for the whole time. I packed for about a week and I ended up being there [in Sicily] for two months."

Gore fest: Kristin Gore with father Al in 2000 Gore fest: Kristin Gore with father Al in 2000 (AFP/Getty) Gore's father turned up in Sundance for the world premiere of the film in January. "He really loved it. I double-checked to make sure he wasn't just being a supportive father. He actually believes it is an original piece of art. I prepared him before he saw it that it was a challenging art film about post-traumatic stress disorder. It's definitely not Little Miss Sunshine."

Yes, Gore has early memories of her father's Oscar-winning environmental documentary, An Inconvenient Truth (2006.) "I've seen some version of An Inconvenient Truth since I was born," she jokes. "It used to be pieces of paper on a wall." She was involved in the editing process and remembers the initial scepticism surrounding a film which was essentially "a global-warming slideshow." In the end, the film was an unlikely box-office hit and provoked fierce and (to Gore's mind) necessary debate about the climate-change crisis.

The Gore family "prized" creativity and storytelling. "I always wanted to be a writer from being a little kid onwards. My dad and my mum both had phases when that was what they did. My dad started out as a writer and a journalist and my mum [Tipper Gore] as a photographer."

Growing up, Gore remembers being taken to see Return of the Jedi in a little cinema in Tennessee and being "blown away by it." The Gores were passionate film-lovers. They liked everything from Casablanca to The Godfather, from Out of Africa and Star Wars to Hitchcock's thrillers.

The ferociously busy and prolific Gore has recently finished a new novel. She worked (she doesn't say in what capacity) on Spike Jonze's recent Oscar winner Her. She has written a screenplay called Racing Dreams that Lance Acord is set to direct for Dreamworks. This is about three youngsters from the Deep South who yearn to become Nascar drivers (and is based on a 2009 documentary.) She has also written a pilot for a Showtime TV drama that Bennett Miller will direct, and a half-hour HBO comedy to be directed by Jay Roach (of Austin Powers) fame.

As for her father's political career, that is not something she wants to emulate. Ask her about the "stolen" election of 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote but was somehow denied the Presidency and she acknowledges her dismay at Washington politicking.

"I didn't like the direction that our country was going in at that time," she reflects on her "disillusionment" at how the expectations and prospects of millions of people were dashed by her father's controversial defeat. "It didn't turn out the way we hoped."

Gore deeply disliked the turn of American politics under the Bush administration. "There was a difference of values. It's hard when something is going in the wrong direction and you can't do anything about it." Rather than grumble on the sidelines or write a "cynical, dark" book about it, she embarked on her novel Sammy's Hill (2004). "I tried consciously to write a comedy and to reconnect with any positive parts of that world," Gore remembers. "The one thing I witnessed over and over were these pretty young people who would throw themselves into a cause larger than themselves and believe they could change the world."

In her fiction and screenwriting, Gore wanted to honour their idealism... but also to explore what happens "when it gets crushed". Humour, she suggests, is the best way to deal with disappointment. "I thought making it a comedy was a better way to go. I'd rather laugh about it than cry about it."

Arts and Entertainment
music

Arts and Entertainment
Creep show: Tim Cockerill in ‘Spider House’

TVEnough to make ardent arachnophobes think twice

Arts and Entertainment
Steven, Ella Jade and Sarah in the boardroom
tvThe Apprentice contestants take a battering from the business mogul
Arts and Entertainment
TV Presenters Ant McPartlin and Dec Donnelly. Winners of the 'Entertainment Programme' award for 'Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway'
musicAnt and Dec confirmed as hosts of next year's Brit Awards
Arts and Entertainment
Jewel in the crown: drawings from ‘The Letter for the King’, an adventure about a boy and his mission to save a medieval realm
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Juergen Wolf won the Young Masters Art Prize 2014 with his mixed media painting on wood, 'Untitled'
art
Arts and Entertainment
Iron Man and Captain America in a scene from
filmThe upcoming 'Black Panther' film will feature a solo black male lead, while a female superhero will take centre stage in 'Captain Marvel'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Imperial War Museum, pictured, has campaigned to display copyrighted works during the First World War centenary
art
Arts and Entertainment
American Horror Story veteran Sarah Paulson plays conjoined twins Dot and Bette Tattler
tvReview: Yes, it’s depraved for the most part but strangely enough it has heart to it
Arts and Entertainment
The mind behind Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin
books

Will explain back story to fictional kingdom Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Dorothy in Return to Oz

film Unintentionally terrifying children's movies to get you howling (in fear, tears or laughter)
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Robert James-Collier as under-butler Thomas

TVLady Edith and Thomas show sad signs of the time
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Dad's Army cast hit the big screen

film
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge

books
Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning?
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift performs at the 2014 iHeart Radio Music Festival
music review
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

    Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

    "I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
    Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

    11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

    Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
    Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

    Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

    The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
    Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

    The school that means business

    Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
    10 best tablets

    The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

    They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
    Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

    Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

    The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
    Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

    Pete Jenson's a Different League

    Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
    John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

    The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
    The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

    The killer instinct

    Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
    Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

    Clothing the gap

    A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

    The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain