I first got involved with ‘Swallows and Amazons’ in 2007. Nick Barton, one of the producers, had seen my film ‘Dear Frankie’ and liked it. That had a child at the centre and, as the most important characters in ‘Swallows’ are the kids, Nick felt I could write them for the screen.
I hadn’t read the book as a child but the minute he gave it to me, I fell in love. I was struck by its power as an evocation of childhood and by the simple truth of its message; children love to play, explore and imagine. It’s how they learn about responsibility, loyalty and friendship and it’s our duty as adults to help them do this.
Captain Flint and Mother do this brilliantly in the book. They’re the best of adults because they can still play. The trouble arises when Captain Flint stops playing with the Amazons and removes himself back into the adult world.