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December 20, 1998
Mimi Leder took issue with a statement by Peter Berg that differentiated writer-directors from "shooters," i.e. directors who do not write their scripts (Letters, Dec. 6). Her point is well taken that there have been many great directors who were not screenwriters. However, as a screenwriter who has also directed four features, I question, as do many other writers, why these collaborating directors feel the need to take the "A Film By" credit. You can't have it both ways. If you are a collaborator, how can you, with a straight face, claim total authorship of the film?
August 22, 1999
The widow of screenwriter Martin Goldsmith makes a case for her husband's script having been the primary determinant of "Detour" (1945) having become a film noir classic (Letters, Aug. 15). Were Goldsmith's detailed screenplay singularly responsible for the good outcome, wouldn't a remake from the same screenplay be expected to be just as much a classic? "Detour" was remade, yet the 1992 version scarcely enjoys the reputation of the original directed by Edgar Ulmer. The remake is faithful, even incorporating the 20 minutes of additional script that Ulmer excised to deliver his movie at the 69-minute length that suited his studio's desire to place the film on double-feature programs.
October 27, 1985 | John M. Wilson
Is South Africa finally bankable? A year or two ago, says producer Gautam Das, money wasn't available for projects dealing with apartheid. Now Das is prodding a newly hired screenwriter to finish a rewrite on Das' "Biko" project about martyred black South African leader Steve Biko. "Today," said Das, "I don't think I'd have any trouble getting the rest of the money."
June 26, 2012 | By Susan King
Four more actors have been added to the cast of “Jobs,” the new biopic about the late Steve Jobs, the computer designer and inventor who was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive ofApple Inc. Joining Ashton Kutcher, who is starring as Jobs, are Ron Eldard (“Super 8”) as Apple designer Ron Holt; John Getz (“The Social Network”) as Jobs' adoptive father Paul Jobs; Lesley Ann Warren (“Victor/Victoria”) as his adoptive mother; and James Woods (“Salvador,” “Nixon”)
The screenwriter-narrator in Ray Bradbury's new novel, a murder mystery set in Hollywood in the '50s, refers to them affectionately as the loonies, the jerks, the idiots, the goons. They're the starry-eyed autograph hounds who loitered in front of the movie studio gates waiting for the stars of the silver screen to materialize in the California sun. Like his protagonist in "A Graveyard for Lunatics," Bradbury was once a member of that "mob of lovers worshiping at the studio shrine."
January 11, 1993
John Steven Soet's Dec. 14 Counterpunch ("All Low-Budget Movies Are Not Created Equal or Equally Creative") is narrow-minded and uninformed. Essentially, Soet's argument is that all the rank "amateur" independent filmmakers should step aside so as not to dilute the efforts of "legitimate" filmmakers like himself. In support of his argument, he specifically cites the necessity of vindictive, artistically frustrated story analysts to sift through the glut of unqualified scripts from the likes of "short-order cooks" and "pot scrubbers" and the proliferation of bad films financed by "dumb money" from "unsophisticated investors."
December 31, 1994
Responding to Lauren Bacall's "itching to get back on stage" ("Aimee: The Book Can Wait," Dec. 20): As a screenwriter, I was put off by Bacall's remark: "Can't anybody write anymore?" It's not as if undiscovered writers have abandoned their creative verve. I do believe that the majority of producers of stage and screen are not on the lookout for original material. And that in itself is another barrier writers are forced to endure. Playwriting, as in screenwriting, is a lonely and time-consuming career, but I absolutely adore writing, so I stick to it listening to constructive criticism and bypassing rejection letters.
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