How a world champion triathlete earned an Oscar nomination
It’s while running in the moors and hills of her native Scotland that Lesley Paterson sometimes sees her two careers become conveniently aligned.
A professional triathlete and screenwriter, Paterson has long inhabited two livelihoods that, on the surface, seem worlds apart. But in the quiet moments of a windswept run or a long bike ride, the occasional flash of inspiration can form the basis of her best ideas for film scripts.
She counts among those the opening scenes of the Oscar-nominated “All Quiet on the Western Front,” an adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s anti-war novel of the same name published in 1929.
The film begins in the trenches of the First World War, where much of the action is situated, before we are soon transported to a provincial town in Germany. There, Paul Bäumer – a young army recruit and the story’s protagonist – notices how his new military uniform carries the name tag of another solider.
Unbeknownst to Bäumer, who is awkwardly told that the clothes were too small for their intended recipient, the soldier has apparently been killed in the war and his uniform recycled.
“It really sort of encapsulates the entire message of the film – that the uniform’s more important than the man,” Paterson tells CNN Sport.