This year’s front-runner for best picture is the remake of the World War One epic All Quiet on the Western Front. The German experience of the war, as recounted in Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel, is the focus of the German-language Netflix film, which has won nine Oscar nominations and fourteen Bafta nominations.
Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Schuch, Daniel Brühl, Sebastian Hülk, Aaron Hilmer, Edin Hasanovic, and Devid Striesow are among the actors who appear in the movie. The tale of how the movie was made, however, is equally remarkable and involves the commitment of world champion triathlete Lesley Paterson.
Who Is Lesley Paterson?
The 42-year-old triathlete from Stirling, Scotland, has won five triathlon world championship titles; her success provided her the necessary “dedication” to succeed in cutthroat Hollywood.
The passion that comes from participating in athletics at that level, the fixation that you need, and that fire in the belly, she said in January. “You don’t achieve the kind of excellence I did in sport and maintain it for as long as I did without really enjoying the process.”
Paterson believes she was able to apply this to her work on the adaptation of the Lewis Milestone-directed remake of the 1930 movie, which was released on the streaming site last October and is up for the Best Picture Oscar.
Paterson’s Early Life
Like many others, Paterson’s love of sports began when she was a young student and the sole girl on the boys’ rugby team at her elementary school because there was no female counterpart at Stirling Rugby Club.
“The lads either wanted to tackle me extra hard or were too terrified to come near,” she recalled of her time in a 2012 interview with the Daily Record.
With the urging of her father, Alistar, Paterson developed an interest in fell running at the age of 14, when it was decided that she was too old to continue roughhousing with the boys. She eventually started competing in triathlons at the Mr. Paterson-founded Stirling Triathlon Club.
Paterson joined the Scottish and British triathlon teams when she was 16 years old.
She won the Scottish Junior Championship in 1997, and in the World Junior Triathlon Championships in 1999, she placed fifteenth. The following year, Paterson won a silver medal in the World Junior Duathlon Championships, a competition without a swimming portion, which she acknowledged having trouble with and calling a “harrowing experience” in a 2012 interview with Triathlon Magazine.
Paterson left the sport after she failed attempts to qualify for the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, which she referred to as her “lowest moments” in life.
The Arrival of Paterson in The US
During her break, Paterson studied at Loughborough University for an undergraduate degree in English and theatre before moving to San Diego, California, with her husband Simon Marshall, a psychologist who accepted a job offer there in 2003.
“I wished to retire from triathlon. About her relocation to the Sunshine State, Patterson claimed, “Everyone knew I’d failed. “San Diego was an opportunity to recreate me because no one recognized me there.”
She earned a master’s degree in theatre while she was away, started acting in student and professional productions, and only ran for fun.
Nonetheless, Paterson made a comeback to the world of professional sports in 2007 when he competed in the Scottish Triathlon Championships. He didn’t expect to win but ended up doing just that.
Building off of her success, Paterson competed in numerous XTERRA Triathlon World Championships (where she won three gold medals and four silver medals) and ITU Cross World Championships (where she won two gold medals and one silver medal) between 2008 and 2018.
Subsequently, in November 2011, Paterson started a coaching business under the name Braveheart Coaching, which she described as “very fulfilling” but challenging due to how much you have to “give”.
In 2017, Paterson and Marshall co-wrote Brave Athlete, a guide to assist prospective athletes in reducing post-race anxiety.
The book All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque, which Paterson had admired since she had studied it in high school around 16 years earlier, was purchased by Paterson and her writing partner, Ian Stokell when Paterson received her MA in theatre.
Paterson recently outlined the reasons for her interest in the tale and the significance of giving it a modernized film interpretation. Following Mimi Leder’s alleged attachment to the project in 2011, who claimed that the German perspective made it a unique “anti-war picture,” the movie is now directed by Edward Berger.
Since we don’t frequently see that, we appreciated the fact that it was about the German side, Paterson told News.
“We consider Germany to be the adversary, and the theme of this narrative is the absence of a hero. War is a classic anti-war movie, not an adventure. We were driven by a strong desire to tell this story again as a result of all of those factors coming together.
Using their production firm, Sliding Down Rainbows Entertainment Inc., she used her sporting winnings to fund the project, which frequently required competing in dangerous situations, such as with a damaged shoulder. We have to pay several thousand dollars a year to preserve the option for the novel, she continued. I would frequently utilize my race winnings to assist with that, Patterson said. “A few years back, when the rights were about to expire, we lacked the funds, and I was leaving for a race in Costa Rica where I needed to win in order to pay the option.
“I broke my shoulder the day before the event when I fell off my bike, so I had to race with just one arm. It was undoubtedly one of those bizarre experiences that gets you there in the end since I still managed to win. In addition, Paterson acted as an executive story producer for the 2007 film Cosmic Radio. Ulysses Coyote is now in pre-production.
Lesley is married to Simon Marshall – a sport psychology expert. He fell in love with Lesley in 2001 after meeting her on a training ride in the UK (literally, I crashed). He even feigned to be slower than he actually was throughout the course of the following year so they could bike together (which continues to this day). After being married in 2002, they went to the US a week later so that he could begin working as an exercise science professor at San Diego State University. He directed the graduate internship in sport psychology at SDSU and taught courses in sports and exercise psychology there. His professional interests have shifted more towards public health during the past ten years, partly motivated by a desire to apply the concepts of brain training to help people with chronic illnesses live healthier, more active lives. He relocated to UC San Diego in 2011 to work as a professor of family and preventive medicine.