My blog has moved!

You will be automatically redirected to the new address. If that does not occur, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Today's Mail

Rouge Waver AJG asked the Wave-inatrix a good question in a comment, that I thought worthy of sharing with all Wavers:

Dear Most Amazing Wave-inatrix - and might I add I love your perfume and your hair looks great*:

What is your favorite produced script and what would you have changed about it (if anything)?

Dear AJG, gosh you make me blush*

My favorite produced script has to be AMERICAN BEAUTY. I read the shooting script and so the movie was famously, subsequently edited so that the courtroom sequence at the top of the script was not used. But I did love that script so much - few scripts can make me cry but that one did. If I had to change one thing, I felt as if every female character on the pages (and resultingly, in the movie) were a bit two-dimensional and not that fully realized. They were types. Bening was a shrill shrew, Ricky's mother was a catatonic housewife, Suvari was an insecure cheerleader and the most fleshed out female, Thora Birch was primarily a goth/angst/typical teen. I think the female parts were variously under and overwritten. But that's just me. Overall it's one of my favorite pieces of writing ever - funny, poignant, wicked and moving.

My favorite in-development script which has Chris Columbus attached, is SLANTED AND ENCHANTED. God I loved that script. So much so that I wrote Ben Queen a fan letter and we subsequently become pen pals. It reminded me just a bit of AB, but has a lovely John Irving feel to it as well. I cannot wait for that movie to hit the big screen. And I wouldn't have changed a thing. Although I shouldn't say that - I did have to cover it for a production company; when I'm feeling less lazy I'll review my notes and see what I said. I hate having to find something when I really have no complaints at all.

Mind you, readers never comment on what *we* would like changed, only on what our BOSS is looking for. Unless the script is patently bad; those coverages are easy to do. Other than that, you're taking a mandate into consideration.
*question altered to protect the identity of the - oh, right, that won't work. Fine. The Wave-inatrix is merely suggesting that asking questions in this way will be cupcake inducing.

If you enjoyed this post, follow me on Twitter or subscribe via RSS.


Anonymous said...

Julie, I totally agree with you about American Beauty. Equally, beautifully done is The Hours, less of wicked funny part, more profoundly affecting and each character fully fleshed out. Scripts like these make me want to be a writer.

Jake Hollywood said...

Okay, since we're playing the what's your favorite produced script and what would you have changed about it (if anything)? game, let's turn it around this way: what produced script (that you've read - coverage or otherwise - that was changed would you most like to see produced as written (if any)?

Julie Gray said...

Uh, that is a question that would require a lot of digging through notes and memory, Jake. I don't have a quick answer for that. I take it for granted that a lot of changes are made from script to screen. I understand the Golden Compass has a massive change at the top of the movie that was formerly at the end of the book - of which I am a fan - so I'll be curious to see what that change is like onscreen, how it was justified dramatically and if it works for me as a fan of the source material.

Your question is interesting, maybe another Waver who's read produced scripts has a quicker answer than me for I am buried in reading and other daily business pursuits.

Jake Hollywood said...

Okay, I'll give you that one. But you're sounding an awful lot like a producer or director...

I've had scripts changed for no other reason than the producer was from a certain city and wanted the film shot in his home town.

And as I write this I'm watching a film with a major star in it, and saying to myself this is the lamest dialog I've ever heard and asking myself was this the way it was written?

Surely you've scripts that you've loved, only to have them ruined (or close to it) by the director or producer's "vision." I was just wondering if you had is all.

Julie Gray said...

Oh as a more general question? It happens daily. It's called "development". Sure I've seen that happen. And I've read what I thought were horrible scripts and seen them in the theater a year later. It's intrinsically an imperfect process. But the only thing that concerns writers trying to break in is writing a fantastic script in the here and now. What happens to it after it's sold is another animal altogether and one that writers should be so lucky as to complain about. I am leaning toward becoming a producer in the medium-term, so yes, I do view things through that lens more and more. But that's beside the point. If you think, as you write, that your script is totally genius and it's a slam dunk, you're wrong. There are better writers than you. And worse - of course, but why be concerned with them?

It's about arriving at some kind of balanced perspective, which I hope that the Rouge Wave helps shed light on, while keeping the bar very high for yourself. Bad movies get made every day and great scripts get butchered too. That's why this business has such a high frustration quotient.

Anonymous said...

ADAPTATION somewhat changed from script to screen. In the movie there is a monster (like big foot or something) that kills Cooper's characters at the end, not alligator. And Streep shoots herself. There are also more details about Cooper and Cages's character's childhoods on the pages. And Cage's character ends up with the girl. The movie should've stuck to Kaufman's vision.

Jake Hollywood said...

Geeez Julie, a producer? You're leaning toward producer?...

I always think I'm writing the greatest film ever...well...because I am the world's greatest living (and probably dead too) writer. I'm lucky though, I get to play director too, so nobody gets to screw up my vision but me.

And say, when the heck do I get my cupcake?

Julie Gray said...

lol Jake. It is the Wave-inatrix's good pleasure to give you or any other deserving Waver a cupcake as long as a reciprocal cup of coffee (or booze) is involved. You know where to find me. I also bring cupcakes to the picket line if you care to picket at CBS. :)

Jake Hollywood said...

I am at CBS every strike day (Colfax in the early AM/Radford in the afternoon)...except for next week when I'm going to be at Paramount (Melrose) for a day with the rest of the Indie Film guys.

Today was interesting, was lucky enough to met the wonderful Sherwood Schwartz (and his son Lloyd and grandson Andy) at Radford.

Today was also take your dog to the strike line day. On the way home I met a nice woman who told me what a beautiful dog I had. Then her tone changed. "You're a writer?" she asked. And I nodded yes. "I hope both you and your dog die."

First negative comment I've had this entiree strike.

Julie Gray said...

Ahhhhh I'm at CBS Television City on Beverly. Wrong CBS. Tell me what day you'll be at Paramount and I shall arrive bearing cupcakes for all y'all.

Jake Hollywood said...

Thursday the 13th. And start baking, there'll be hundreds of us. And we'll be hungry.

Julie Gray said...

What means this b-a-k-i-n-g? It is with heat, no? And de wet flour and eggs?

I'll bring some cupcakes, darlin'. Not hundreds though. So you better scoot to the front of the line and claim yours. And I want this actual cupcake give-away to go record, Wavers!

Jake Hollywood said...

Well, that's my beautiful mug right there in that little old icon, so you won't have any excuse that you didn't see me.

Julie Gray said...

teeny picture of guy with baseball cap on versus redhead lady with cupcakes = it's your call, Jake. You know you want that cupcake. :)