Baseball writer Aidan Jackson-Evans joins us this week to discuss the book and screenplay for ‘Moneyball’. Just how accurate is this seemingly-true tale of the manager who learned how to gain a competitive edge through a manipulation of statistics to discover undervalued players? We learn about the real life of Billy Beane, just how outdated ‘Moneyball’ tactics already are in modern baseball, and consider if there is even a ‘best’ way for a screenwriter to try to tell this story at all.
Does anyone really envy the screenwriter who has to tackle a third film in a franchise? Toy Story 3 is a remarkable achievement, and it is likely because it managed to frame itself as the concluding chapter in the saga of Andy’s relationship with his childhood toys. We take a laid-back but detailed look at the story, characters and themes of the screenplay - on the week that the next installment, Toy Story 4, was released.
One of the most original, daring and emotionally compelling screenplays of the 21st century, Charlie Kaufman’s ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ wowed audiences upon the films release in 2004. In this week’s episode, we track the progression of the story from concept, to first draft, to the final shooting script and the final changes made in the editing room.
We conclude our series on the films of Damien Chazelle with ‘First Man’, written by Josh Singer. One of the most accurately-researched biopic screenplays, ‘First Man’ captures the essence of Neil Armstrong’s life, highlighting his struggle to overcome the death of his infant daughter and how that marked his character even as the years passed, and he steadily persevered at his career until ultimately becoming the first human being to walk on the lunar surface.
In the second part of our series on the films of Damien Chazelle, we look at the evolution of the screenplay for La La Land, from its conception as a long-shot musical to the huge hit starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone that it became. It’s truly a story for the ones who dream. We talk about the key changes that were made to Mia and Sebastian’s storylines, as well as the dialogue and the surprising difference in length for a musical screenplay that by necessity encourages a writer to make sure that every scene counts.
They say that every good screenplay needs conflict, and Damien Chazelle’s first story ‘Whiplash’ delivers it on every page. In this episode The 21st Rewrite is looking at the tale of the teacher who goes too far, and asks if Terrence Fletcher is a well-meaning character with flawed methods or a true villain? The discussion also touches upon details about what was removed from the screenplay: Andrew taking drugs, some more personal details about Fletcher’s personal life, and a fascinating commentary on what Hungarian psychologist László Polgár has to do with all of this.
‘Particular Disposition’ is based on the last execution of two men for the crime of sodomy under English law in 1835. It was selected by the Austin Film Festival jury as the best stage play script of 2018. We were extremely fortunate to spend some time talking with the playwright, Benjamin Fulk, about his writing process and the importance of bringing this forgotten story back to the fore in the 21st century.
‘Ex Machina’ addresses a theme that is becoming more relevant as the 21st century progresses, can artificial intelligence be developed to the degree that we mistake it for human? Written by British screenwriter and filmmaker Alex Garland, who has been on the cutting edge of science fiction for almost twenty years, it was a wonderful screenplay to assess due to his powerful use of character development, intriguing plot and intelligent concepts.
‘Sideways’ was an enjoyable script to discuss, because it is a comedy with many tragic elements that always stays rooted in reality and its flawed characters. Based on the novel by Rex Pickett and adapted for the screen by director Alexander Payne and writer Jim Taylor, it’s a tale of debauchery, adventure, love and friendship set in California’s Santa Barbara wine valley.
‘The Lost City of Z’ is a screenplay about the now little-known British explorer Percy Fawcett, who led a remarkable life, searching the Amazon rainforest for the ruins of the lost city at a time when most who ventured into the jungle never returned alive. But the screenplay covers so much more than that, and is primarily concerned with the monumental changes that occurred in the concepts of ‘culture’ and ‘civilization’ in the early years of the last century, as well as the impact a life like Fawcett’s can have on the family back home. We discuss the important themes that the screenplay addresses, and our personal experiences that shape our view of the story.