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Thursday, March 19, 2009

How to Handle a Trashing, etc., etc.

Playwright/screenwriter Harold Pinter: "As soon as he read my script Accident, the producer Sam Spiegel summoned me to his office. He began his commentary by saying: 'You call this a screenplay?' He then said, 'You can't make a movie out of this. Who are these people? I don't know anything about them. I don't know anything about their background. I don't know what they're doing. I don't understand what they're up to. I don't understand one thing. I think you have to seriously rethink the whole script.' I said, 'No, I'm not rethinking it. That's it.' " . . . . From the time screenwriters John Gregory Donne and Joan Didion began work on a script called Golden Girl until the time it was filmed as Up Close and Personal, they did twenty-seven drafts of the script over the course of six years . . . . Director Ken Russell to [legendary] screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky: "What's it to you whether you like the set or not? You're only the writer! . . . Take your turkey sandwiches and your script and your Sanka and stuff it up your ass and get on the next fucking plane back to New York and let me get on with the fucking film." . . . . A screenwriter and a director were on a trip scouting locations. The script called for "white houses dotting the hillsides." The hills they were looking at were perfect except for the fact that blue houses were dotting the hillside, not white ones. The director, a freak for authenticity, turned the location down because of the blue houses. The screenwriter took the script out of the director's hands, then crossed the word white out and replaced it with blue. The director approved the hillside. . . . Screenwriter Renny Harlan (Cliffhanger; Exorcist: The Beginning): "I don't want accidents, I want disasters. I don't want dirt, I want filth. I don't want a storm, I want a hurricane. I don't want fear, I want panic. I don't want suspense, I want terror. I don't want humor, I want hysteria." . . . . Novelist/screenwriter Raymond Chandler: "Eventually there will be a type of director who realizes that what is said and how it is said is more important than shooting it upside down through a glass of champagne."

Joe Eszterhas The Devil's Guide to Hollywood: The Screenwriter as God.

Severely and absolutely recommended.

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