'Eyes Wide Open' took shape from two real life events straight from my own past. One was the sad suicide of my young nephew, a troubled kid, who was found at the bottom of a landmark cliff in central California. The second was a chance encounter forty years ago with none other than, ahem, Charles Manson!
The stories my pupils told me were astonishing. One told how he had witnessed his cousin being shot in the back five times; another how his parents had died of AIDS. Another said that he'd probably been to more funerals than parties in his young life. For me - someone who had had an idyllic, happy childhood - this was staggering.