In this episode of Brad Listi’s Other People Podcast, novelist Rex Pickett discusses the origins of his book Sideways, the basis for Alexander Payne’s hit movie. Pickett has written a sequel to Sideways called Vertical, and in the podcast he talks about why he’s self-published it. There’s a lot here about a writer’s take on the movie business, how success doesn’t protect you from rejection, and, uh, Pickett also has a few things to say about producer Michael London.
I have come across many folks who have allowed the completion of a perfect script to derail their entire production. I have also sat through (I’m including my own films here) more films that I can remember in which the filmmakers hoped improv will create something magical. In microbudget the latter is a necessity, in large indie films, it’s risky, and in Hollywood, no one but a select few can pull it off. I recently started a conversation with an Austin filmmaker in the very thick of making her second feature film, What’s the Use (pictured below), and this battle […]
Sometimes people ask me how I went from living in Los Angeles, writing a studio film like 40 Days & 40 Nights, to living in Minneapolis, directing an independent comedy like nobody. It’s a fair question but it seems there’s a subtext here, too. Many people think independent film is a step down from the studio system. And I’m sure it is — for some people. But let’s go back. 40 Days & 40 Nights is about a guy who gives up sex for lent and then meets the perfect girl. The short version of how it was made goes […]
Leading up to the Oscars on Feb. 22, we will be highlighting the nominated films that have appeared in the magazine or on the Website in the last year. James Ponsoldt interviewed Rachel Getting Married director Jonathan Demme, as well as other principals from the film, to dissect the creation of the title character for our Fall ’08 issue. Rachel Getting Married is nominated for Best Actress (Anne Hathaway). Jonathan Demme has made a career out of revealing the humanity in oddballs, eccentrics, zealots and rock stars. As a storyteller, Demme doesn’t judge. He trusts that if you listen to […]
Recently I was talking to the script readers in my production office about script reading and development and remembered an article we published years ago by filmmaker and former development exec Barbara Schock. It was a great piece that looked at the screenplay development process with a critical eye, examining why the traditional method so often fails to generate great work. Along the way she offered a series of sensible tips on how to make that process better. I went home and rummaged through my old issue of Filmmakers trying to find it and then thought to try the web. […]
Leading up to the Oscars on Feb. 24, we will be highlighting the nominated films that have appeared in the magazine or on the Website in the last year. Lisa Y. Garibay interviewed Juno director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody for the Fall ’07 issue. Juno is nominated for Best Picture, Best Directing (Jason Reitman), Best Lead Actress (Ellen Page) and Best Original Screenplay (Diablo Cody). The pairing of writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman was one of complete chance, like one of those cop-buddy movies where the grizzled vet is set up with a renegade newbie and […]
TOM WILKINSON AND GEORGE CLOONEY IN TONY GILROY’S MICHAEL CLAYTON. COURTESY WARNER BROS. PICTURES. As a Hollywood screenwriter, Tony Gilroy has brought an insistent energy and intelligence to the projects he has worked on, so it was a totally logical step that he should progress to becoming a director. New York native Gilroy grew up with writing and the movies in his veins, as he is the son of Frank D. Gilroy, the Pulitzer prize-winning writer and filmmaker, possibly best known for writing The Only Game in Town (1970), starring Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty. Gilroy Jr. debuted with the […]
This article originally appeared in our Fall, 1995 print edition. Development is a dirty word in the film business. To screenwriters in Hollywood, it means toiling under the tutelage of a team of business people, endeavoring to give them what they want, all the while realizing that there is little chance that their script will ever get made. To development executives, it means finding an idea, novel, or original screenplay and then having to work with a writer who can be alternately moody, recalcitrant, or even lazy – and then being disappointed with the results. For the studio executive, development […]