Summarize this content to 100 words In 2011, Lesley Paterson was interviewed in Scotland’s Daily Record after becoming the off-road triathlon world champion. The headline crowed: “I beat my demons to be world champ … now I want an Oscar.” It was hard to know whether Paterson was rash, brash or simply delusional. The athlete had no track record in film. By then, she had spent five years trying and failing to remake the first world war epic All Quiet on the Western Front. It felt like a grand folly. Even her loved ones thought it was a pipe dream.This week, Paterson is up for the best adapted screenplay Bafta for All Quiet, alongside her co-writer Ian Stokell and director Edward Berger. On 13 March, she will attend the Academy Awards, where she hopes to win her Oscar for best adapted screenplay. In total, the film has been nominated for nine Oscars.It took Paterson 16 years to get it made. Along the way, star actors and directors pulled out, funds went awol and Paterson subsidised her dream with her winnings from triathlons. It’s a heroic tale of endurance worthy of a movie in itself.Today, Paterson is on the campaign trail. Make no mistake: the Scot, who lives in Los Angeles, wants those gongs. We meet at the Guardian’s office in London. Congratulations on the film, I say. “Thank you so much,” she says, followed by a triumphant roar that verges on the indecent. “Yeeeeeeeeeahhhh!!!” Paterson is a tiny, fiery ball of muscle. Whereas most of us are covered in fat, she appears to be wrapped in polythene. Her eyes are the bluest I have seen and scan the world with fierce intensity. Her speech is turbocharged, only breaking when she stuffs an energy bar or homemade rice-flour cake into her mouth.Lesley Paterson during the 2012 ITU triathlon elite women’s race in Birmingham, Alabama, in 2012. Photograph: Kevin C Cox/Getty ImagesShe admits that, for good or bad, she has hardly ever met anyone the same as her. “My husband calls it a feralness, like a ‘Don’t mess with me’ thing. Nice on the outside, but there’s a little undercurrent. I will do literally anything to make what I want happen.“I don’t mean in a bad way. I won’t murder someone or be horrible to someone, but if it means getting up at 2am to fit it in, that’s what I’ll do.” She again quotes her husband, Simon Marshall, a psychology professor and now her partner in writing. “He says I’m like one of those toys you wind up and point in a direction and it just goes. I’ve always been like that. My mum said I came out of the womb running. I’ve always been so driven. Everyone criticises me for it or has done in the past, like: you’re so intense, or you’re so obsessive. But this is who I am!”At times, she says, her friends have wanted to stage interventions. What does that involve? “Settling down, being more normal, more balanced. I fucking hate that word. Balanced! What does that even mean? Because I’m so driven, my biggest fear is that I’m selfish, but you have to be selfish to be the best in the world.”Paterson, 42, grew up in Stirling. She was one of four siblings born to a sporty surveyor father and an artsy hotel manager mother. By seven, she spent her Saturday playing rugby for Stirling County in the morning and doing ballet in the afternoon. Of course, Paterson being Paterson, she didn’t merely dabble.She remembers holding her father’s hand as they watched her brother on the rugby pitch. “I said: ‘Dad, that looks a lot of fun. I want to do that. There’s mud, there’s boys, I get to beat up on them – I want to have a go.’ And he’s like: ‘Yeah, but you’d be the only girl,’ and I said: ‘I don’t care – I want to have a go.’” Was she tough? “I was really tough, because I was the youngest of four and my brother was the next up and he used to beat the shit out of me.”Her father took her to practice; she impressed and won a place in the team, playing at scrum half and inside centre. “I loved it. I was the ducker and diver, in and out of rucks. I was quick and nimble and dynamic. I would say that’s my personality – dynamic. We played all over Scotland. I was the captain and only girl in the league. We ended up winning the Scottish championships when I was 10.” She tells the story as if there is nothing remarkable about it.A scene from All Quiet on the Western Front. Photograph: NetflixAfter rugby, she would turn up at ballet with muddy knees. One of her sisters went on to become a professional baller dancer. Was Paterson as good as her? “I’d say yes. To be honest, anything I turn my hand to I work harder than anybody else, so I’m always going to be better than them.”She had to stop playing rugby at 12 because it was regarded as unsafe to play with boys and there was no girls’ team. Paterson was distraught, but then her father introduced her to fell running. It was tough and dirty and she loved it every bit as much as rugby. Paterson had started to feel alienated from her peers, particularly girls. Running with her father and his friends gave her something different. “I find incredible solace in the land. Running through the hills in Scotland was super-poetic to me. It made me feel special, like I was experiencing something no one my age was. I wasn’t interested in what young people were doing. I didn’t want to get drunk, I didn’t want to go shopping.”When she was 13, her father introduced her to the local triathlon club. “It was fucking awesome,” she says. Paterson is not only one of life’s great achievers; she is also one of life’s great swearers. “I’d go out on these 50-mile bike rides when I was 14 years old with a bunch of plumbers, welders and builders. I just loved that. If you don’t keep up you’re dropped. Tough shit.” And, of course, she soon outpedalled them. By 15, she was representing Scotland in the triathlon, and then Great Britain. In endurance races, power-to-weight ratio is more important than overall strength, which is why she could often beat the best men.She was on a high. Then, in her late teens, she fell to Earth. A technical change in triathlon rules meant that competitors had to be top swimmers to stand a chance of winning. As swimming was her weakest discipline of the three (cycling and running are the others), she was done for. Paterson missed out on the 2002 Commonwealth Games and retired. She began to loathe triathlon with the same passion she had loved it. “ I swore that I would never do another triathlon as long as I lived.”That was when she started her second life. Paterson was 21 by this point; she had graduated in drama from Loughborough University, met Marshall and got married. They moved to California, where Marshall, who is 10 years older, had got a job. She did an MA in theatre, alongside any number of odd jobs from working on a production line with ex-cons to flogging ice-cream, and spent three years trying to make it as an actor. The closest she got to success was starring in a video for the David Gray song Alibi.‘The people I’m meeting right now! It’s bananas.’ Photograph: Graeme Robertson/The GuardianShe rethinks what she said earlier about being good at anything she turns her hand to. Actually, she says, she was a hopeless actor. “I’m also really shit at things that involve attention to detail and I’ve not got a lot of patience. I think I’d be a shit mother,” she says chomping on another piece of cake.By her mid-20s, she had discovered what she really wanted to do – write and produce movies. She teamed up with Stokell, a former journalist, to write screenplays. Both of them adored the German anti-war novel All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarque and published in 1928. “The theme of the betrayal of the youthful generation meant a lot to me,” she says. “And my personality has always been…

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