Brightest Red

A feature film 

Screenplay by Jeremy Webb

Based on the play ‘Brightest Red to Blue’ by Graham Percy

How deep will you dig to find your muse?

imgresPoet and painter, founder of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Gabriel Rossetti  spends a night in Highgate Cemetery to dig up the body of  his deceased wife and retrive the poems he left inside  her coffin.

He is convinced that this is the way to release himself of the writer’s block from which he suffers.

Rossetti is joined by his deceased wife, Elizabeth Siddal.

Plagued by depression and paranoia, fuelled by alcohol and chloral, Rossetti digs and spirals into a night of dark revelations and regret.



A Little Background

468px-Dante_Gabriel_Rossetti_-_Beata_Beatrix,_1864-1870BRIGHTEST RED – a graveyard in London, England in 1870. When Lizzie Siddal, famed Pre-Raphaelite supermodel dies in 1862, a broken-hearted Dante Gabriel Rossetti buries his poems along with her in an expression of undying love.

Six years later he changes his mind and goes back for them. In BRIGHTEST RED, Victorian England comes alive in a darkly hilarious and heartfelt depiction of one of the most infamous nights in art history.

One of Rossetti’s early biographers recounts the events following her death:

“On the day of the funeral Rossetti walked into the chamber in which the body lay. In his hand was a book into which at her bidding he had copied his poems. Regardless of those present he spoke to her as though she were still living, telling her that the poems were written to her and were hers, and that she must take them with her. He then placed the volume beside her face in the coffin, leaving it to be buried with her in Highgate Cemetery. This touching scene will some day doubtless be the subject of a picture.”

“Time, after its wont, hallowed and sanctified the memory of loss, but the bereavement was long and keenly felt. Meanwhile, the entombment of Rossetti’s poems had an effect upon which the writer had not calculated. They were familiar to many friends, and passages of them were retained in the recollection of some. These poems were during subsequent years the subject of much anxiety and wonderment, and the existence of the buried treasure was mentioned with reverence and sympathy, and with something of awe. Seven years later Rossetti, upon whom pressure to permit the exhumation of the volume had constantly been put, gave a reluctant consent With the permission of the Home Secretary the coffin was opened by a friend of Rossetti and the volume was withdrawn.”

Knight, Joseph. The Life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. London: Walter Scott, 1887.