Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Screenwriting News & Links! 11/19/08


New Screenplays:

Warner Brothers has up-and-running their
For Your Consideration page, as does Disney. Between them, 3 new scripts are available:

(Interesting to note that the action lines are all stacked. It’s called action stacking, which is perfectly acceptable, albeit rare.)

Dark Knight

Gran Torino


Eagle Eye - March 28, 2008 draft script by John Glenn and Travis Wright, J. R. Orci, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, J. J. Abrams, and Hillary Seitz. (Did I get them all? Sheesh.)

[As always, hat-tip to the great


Economy Takes its Toll on Hollywood
"Every single source of capital has suffered a seismic shock that we haven't seen in our lifetimes," said Nigel Sinclair, co-principal of film producer Spitfire Pictures. "That's going to lead to a broad squeeze throughout the studio system." The industry's woes are reflected in recent financial announcements. NBC Universal is cutting $500 million from its budget in 2009 and likely trimming staff. Viacom's third-quarter earnings dropped 37% as its cable networks saw an ad revenue dip in the U.S., and chairman Sumner Redstone and his holding firm National Amusements are under pressure from nervous creditors amid a global credit crunch and declining stock prices. Disney's recently announced quarterly earnings dropped 13% from last year, citing a sudden and significant decline in TV ad and theme parks trends. "Studios are taking a much harder look at the bottom line," said analyst Larry Gerbrandt of Media Valuation Partners in Beverly Hills. "When they contract, they contract across the board, and that includes production." For movies, the days of easy money are officially over.

Industrywide cutbacks hit holiday bashes

Roger Ebert on Screenwriters Getting the Nobel
Q: This is a theoretical question. Would you support an accomplished screenwriter being awarded the Nobel Prize for literature? Say, for example, Woody Allen? As film has become the dominant art form of our time, I've thought such an award would be justified. -- Sandy Bates, Ann Arbor, Mich.
A: Absolutely. They give the prize to dramatists, after all. The first screenwriting Nobel should have gone to Ingmar Bergman. Allen would agree. I also advocate extending the Pulitzers to film. I proposed this in an op-ed in the New York Times, which was vociferously cheered by those who had absolutely nothing to do with the Pulitzers.

Berardinelli sounds off on MPAA
Support the film. Tell your friends about it. Don't let Slumdog Millionaire fall into the category of an obscure art-house feature because its MPAA classification indicates it's not appropriate for anyone under the age of 17. That's bullshit.

Four WGA Staffers Arrested for Protesting American Idol

Melissa Rosenberg to write next three Twilight sequels

Interview with Twilight author, Stephenie Meyer
MTV: Would you ever write a proper screenplay?
Meyer: I don't think I could do that unless Hollywood is ready for a 14-hour experience. [Laughs.] I tried once to write a short story, and it was horrible. I don't think in short terms; I have to explore every tiny detail of things. I really admire people who can come in and streamline [a screenplay] and get all the information across, but simply, that's not my talent. I can't imagine doing that, although my ideas are very visual. I'd [need] a partner who knew how to do it.

Yes, girl, you would.

Interview with Twilight screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg
LL: Were there things you wrote that didn't make it in that you're anxious to see on the DVD?
MR: You know it's funny, but not really. There were scenes when we started, when the screenplay was 110 to 115 pages, but for budget we cut it down so we'd have fewer production days. There were some scenes along the way that got cut where I was thinking "I can't do without that!" But then I saw the film and I had to be reminded that the scenes weren't there because I didn't really miss them. It's a fairly tight edit.

Joan Didion Writing Screenplay for Film about Katharine Graham
HBO Films signed journalist Joan Didion for an untitled film project about the life of Watergate-era Washington Post publisher, Katharine Graham. If the project gets off the ground, the company hopes to sign Laura Linney (who scored an Emmy for John Adams) to play Graham and Robert Benton (Kramer vs. Kramer) to direct.

Motion Picture Academy Honors Screenwriting Talents
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored six screenwriting prospects at a prestigious dinner in L.A. Thursday night, and the man who wrote one of George Clooney's best-known flicks was the evening's keynote speaker! Frank Scott, the Oscar nominated scribe behind Clooney and J. Lo's 'Out of Sight,' spoke at the dinner honoring the six winners of the 23rd Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, presented by the Academy. Movie legend Eva Marie Saint ('North by Northwest,' 'On the Waterfront') served as one of the competition's judges.

On the Centennial Collection of Sunset Blvd

Smallville Scribes Hired to Ruin Live-Action Robotech Movie
Warner Brothers has hired new screenwriters for their big screen live-action adaptation of Robotech. Smallville scribes Alfred Gough and Miles Millar have come on board to rewrite Lawrence Kasdan’s previous draft. This is not good news. Gough and Millar were the team behind The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Herbie Fully Loaded, Made Men, Showtime, and the Shanghai Noon franchise (you remember, the Jackie Chan/Owen Wilson western comedy films?). To be fair, they got a story credit on Spider-Man 2... And to think, Warner Bros gave those two guys the job of rewriting a script penned by the the screenwriting legend responsible for both Raiders of the Lost Ark and Empire Strikes Back. It’s mind-boggling. The Hollywood Reporter claims that Warner Bros made the move in hopes that it will “bring action and geek cred to the table.”

(Hey guys, Kasdan is capable of screwing up. Dreamcatchers, anyone? And I was disappointed by
his treatment of Clash of the Titans.)

Batman Sues Batman
The mayor of the Turkish city of Batman has sued Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros., wanting royalties from the mega-successful The Dark Knight. Green Lantern, Nova Scotia was unavailable for comment.

Sopranos Continues to Sleep With the Fishes
David Chase tells The L.A. Times he still has no plans for a movie version of the show, nor any desire to further explain the show's controversial ending.

McQuarrie Adapting Monster of Florence and The Champions
Oscar winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie has picked up two more projects to work on next. He will adapt both Douglas Preston's bestseller The Monster of Florence with producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Milk) as well as The Champions, a British TV series from the late 1960s with Guillermo del Toro producing and writing as well. The Monster of Florence tells of a writer's experience investigating a heinous crime that had occurred years earlier on his property. The Champions followed the adventures of a team of secret government agents who are rescued from a Himalayan plane crash by an advanced civilization and given superhuman abilities. Both sound like very interesting ideas and I'm glad to see McQuarrie writing again after winning that Oscar for The Usual Suspects in 1996.

Screenwriting Course Kit transports afterschool programs to Hollywood
The Silver Screen fantasies that nearly every 'tween' and young teen harbors will undoubtedly come to life with the newest product from a highly regarded producer of classroom-ready educational materials for afterschool programs and schools. Being a Screenwriter: Generating Ideas for a Screenplay, the latest Course Kit from Community Learning LLC, delivers a full dose of movie magic for students in grades 6 through 8, according to Michael DeBritz, founder and president of the Scotia, New York-based firm. "Students discover through Being a Screenwriter just how much fun writing can be," DeBritz said.

Bridget Moynahan’s New Mystery Man
What can I say? I’m a cad.

Plus, I do love a cute writer
Julie James jokes that after she stops writing for the night, she envisions her characters frozen and waiting for her to return to the story. She says it's almost like they're saying, "Julie, you've got to get back to us. What's going on next?" James likes the idea of "creating this story that kind of starts in your head and then all of a sudden you have these characters who become very much like real people, and it just seems like it's something that you have to get out onto the page."

Not true!
Cindy McCain has Alleged Affair with Mystery Man

Huntsman Takes Aim at Mystery Man at Credit Suisse
Hey, I had to move my money to the Bahamas. Hello?

Fearne Cotton’s new Mystery Man
So very sorry, but I look SO much better than him.

Oprah's mystery man has been revealed!
I only give her ideas for her show.

Nicola Roberts snapped with mystery man
She’s a lovely girl. She really is.

Mystery man was a champ
Still is, baby. Still is.

David O. Russell to tackle The Grackle
As a change of pace, Russell didn’t write the screenplay for the movie. The script was written by a pair of first time writers named Mike Arnold and Chris Poole. Normally, I would be concerned about a writer as brilliant as Russell directing someone else’s script, but this screenplay apparently caused a huge bidding war when it was completed two years ago. So, there must be something to make the script stand out from the pack…

Hey Mike Arnold and Chris Poole – You better learn how to fight. In case you’ve forgotten, O. Russell has been in a fistfight with Clooney and was notorious for his tantrums during Huckabees


A super battle over Watchmen
It's taken more than 20 years and any number of false starts to bring Watchmen this far along: Forsaken film adaptations include versions from directors Terry Gilliam (Brazil), Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum) and screenwriter David Hayter (X-Men), with countless script revisions along the way. Joaquin Phoenix was once considered for Crudup's starring part as Dr. Manhattan, the all-powerful but tortured soul at the center of the Watchmen story. Early screenplay costs and abandoned preproduction fees total close to $10 million, and no fewer than four studios have worked on the movie over the decades, including 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount and Universal.

Steve Urkel Becomes a Screenwriter!
The Hollywood Reporter posts that White has written a romantic comedy called Did You Get My Text, which Joel Zwick (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) will direct. The film follows a young man who somehow "starts a relationship with a girl on his friend's phone, turning their courtship into a comedy of technological errors." Just how does that happen, anyway? And by comedy of errors, I imagine that means this poor girl finally thinks the young man's friend is into her? Oh dear. Right now, there's no word on cast, but we'll probably hear more about the players soon enough.

Above is a happy vid, a tribute to the gorgeous Jean Seberg who, on November 13, would have turned 70. Below’s from
an article.

Fans of old-time flicks recall Seberg as the beautiful yet unpredictable presence in such diverse productions as The Mouse That Roared, Lilith, Paint Your Wagon and Airport. And those devoted to stories of Hollywood tragedies will recall the horrendous FBI smear campaign against Seberg that resulted in her having miscarriage that ultimately wrecked her physical and emotional health (she committed suicide in 1979). Filmmaker Garry McGee’s new biography
Jean Seberg – Breathless (published by BearManor Media) presents a complex and often tragic portrait of an extraordinary woman whose great talent, intelligence and sincerity was never truly appreciated in her lifetime. Film Threat discussed the Seberg mystique with McGee...

See also: Jean Seberg’s
Wikipedia entry.

Jenny Lumet was recently honored for her Rachel Getting Married script at the 2008 Behind the Camera Awards.

Star Wars: A New Heap, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Death Star by John Powers.

Rushdie and Mehta bringing it back home for movie
Canadian director Deepa Mehta is collaborating with Salman Rushdie on a big-screen adaptation of the author's 1981 historical novel "Midnight's Children."

Exclusive: We’ve Seen Steve Carell’s Beaver Screenplay

Alexandra Sokoloff is “a visual whore,”
part 1 and part 2.

John Milius’ bold prediction
This week in San Bernardino, CA, Oscar nominated screenwriter John Milius made a bold prediction while speaking to students at the local Cal State campus. And that is that his current screenplay in progress, about the life of famed conqueror Genghis Khan, will be the best of his long career.

Mendes: Preacher movie has no script
Sam Mendes has revealed that his big screen adaptation of comic book series Preacher has no script. The American Beauty director refuted reports that the project is well underway, telling Empire: "Basically, they should have written, 'Mendes in development with Preacher'. "What I'm doing is, I've got to find a script. I've just got to get it written."

Peter Morgan profile
He considered bungee jumping and mountain climbing, he said not long ago from his home in London. But he chose something even riskier. He wrote a play about the landmark 1977 television interviews that David Frost conducted with Richard M. Nixon. Relying on the accounts of participants and fictionalizing here and there for effect, he made sure to write it, he said, “in a way that breaks every single rule of screenwriting.”

Morgan Confirms He’s Writing Wanted 2, Hints At Sequel Going Global


My good deed for today. Here’s James Ricardo’s e-mail.


Just wanted you to know that our new comedy "Opie Gets Laid" is coming soon to DVD from Universal/Vivendi. Here's the trailer and movie info:


James Ricardo


On the Contest Circuit:

One in Ten Screenplay Contest Announces Winner

ScreamFest Announces Contest Winners

HSI Announces October Contest Winner

Expo Contest Announces Semifinalists and Quarterfinalists

Academy Announces Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Winners for 2008

One in Ten Competition Announces Finalists

20/20 Competition Anounces Contest Winners


And Finally

Marty Scorsese’s favorite films!


Belzecue said...

Actually, the GRAN TORINO screenplay has been there for a while, just not linked...

Mystery Man said...

deaf - yes, it would! I'm all about screenwriters getting a Nobel or Pulitzer!

Belzecue - Thanks so much for that. I've added the link. I also added a link, which I meant to include yesterday, on Berardinelli sounding off on the MPAA.


Joshua James said...

Notice that EAGLE EYE bolds the scene headings, which is nice to see.

And I've been experimenting with stacking (I've seen one or two scripts that also do it) and it's cool to see a big script do it . . .

Anonymous said...

What does 'delineate' mean? Does it mean that they're explaining too much uninteresting information about the character?

Mystery Man said...

It means to outline, like "tracing the outline of a figure in the sand." It's an expression sometimes used in the biz and perhaps not very appropriately but it alludes to the weakly designed character. It's only an outline of a character and not a fully fleshed individual.

Hope that makes sense.


Anonymous said...

Thanks amigo!

GuanoLad said...

Actually, that Jaleel White idea sounds intriguing.

Mystery Man said...

I agree. It may very well be great stuff.