Minefields – next…:
(a) “You’re like the architect, but they’re building the building, and sometimes they decide, ‘You know what? That’s not quite the building we want. We’re gonna bring in somebody else to design the new gazebo.’ I’ve replaced writers and I’ve been replaced. The times it’s gone well have been when everyone’s a grown-up about it.”
(b) “When I’ve been rewritten, oftentimes I’ve been on the project too long. We’ve reinvented the main character a couple of times, and the main character that I’m dealing with now is haunted by the ghosts of the previous main characters, so there’s no clarity in my mind as to what the main character should be doing in a particular scene… structure comes out of what your main character wants. When you lose that clarity, there’s not much you can do, except bring in somebody else.”
(c) “When a rewrite is offered to me, I ask myself three questions. The first question is, ‘Does it inspire me?’ Do I wake up thinking about it, which is the simplest litmus test that I can apply? The second question is, ‘Is it set in a world that I can write about credibly?’ Do I have any knowledge about this world, or is it the sort of world that I can do some investigation into…? The third question is, ‘Is this something I can make better?’ That, really, is the most important thing.
Sometimes I’m the fourth or fifth guy that’s brought in on a project. If you’re going to take money to jump into that line, you have to be absolutely certain that you’re going to make that movie not just better, but demonstrably better…”
Excerpted quotes from (a) John August & (b) Andrew W. Marlowe & (c) Billy Ray
Tales from the Script (2010)