Feature by: Jack Foley
SO WHO was the real Domino Harvey, a model turned bounty hunter
who sadly passed away earlier this year?
Watching Tony Scott's film version of her life, starring Keira
Knightley, may provide very few answers but it does hint at the
defiant and dangerous free spirit that she became.
What is clear from talking to Scott himself, however, is that
the adrenaline-seeker had a profound effect on his life for many
He first met Domino more than ten years ago after his business
manager, Neville Shulman, sent him an article about her decision
to 'follow the seamier side of life, both personally and professionally'.
Scott could not believe that this was the same young woman whose
father was actor Lawrence Harvey (of the original Manchurian Candidate
fame), and who came from a very privileged and gentrified background.
Keen to learn more, the director made contact with the 20-year-old
and arranged a meeting at which they began to discuss putting
a version of her life onto the big screen.
From the outset, however, Scott never intended to do a biographical
piece and, in some cases, even shied away from using real people's
names 'because I was misrepresenting what had actually happened
in their lives'.
As the two worked together on possible ways of achieving this,
Scott admits that Domino became something of a surrogate daughter
to him, as he attempted to watch over her and her comrades as
best he could.
"I kept telling Domino, 'you're
crazy'," he recalls in the film's production notes. "She
was into lots of dangerous things other than bounty hunting, and
I said 'watch out, you're gonna kick down one too many doors'.
"But she said storming through these doors with a shotgun
in her hand was the biggest adrenaline rush she'd ever had, and
it helped to quell the voices in her head, so there was nothing
I could say or do that would change her attitude."
He continued: "When I met Domino, she was living at home
in Beverly Hills with her mum and stepfather, Peter Morton, the
"She'd leave her guns in the garage and pick them up when
she went on these bounty hunting missions. She was living two
distinctly different lives."
Thanks to Richard Kelly's complex script, Scott is confident
that this split personality existence is captured in the film,
which stands as an effective tribute to the woman (if not a biographical
"It's a very complex story; a huge jigsaw puzzle and the
audience has to pay attention in order to stay with all the beats
of the story," he explains.
"We play it in forward and we play it in flashback. But
for me the story is really about a girl who lives in the house
on the hill and dreams of being a bounty hunter and then escapes
that dream by the skin of her teeth - time stood still for that
period - and that was the real Domino."
Referring to Domino's passion for tossing a coin in the air and
saying, 'heads you win, tails you die', which is recurrent throughout
the film, the director concludes: "She flips the coin, wondering
where it's going to land. And in the end, it always landed just
right for her.
"But just like the coin, she had two distinct sides; she
was an adrenaline junkie and a wounded bird, but she always lived
life with the throttle wide open."
Read our review of the film