How did you come up with the story of A Crooked Somebody?
A few years ago, my longtime friend Rich Sommer (who plays Michael in the film) mentioned he’d love to play “a psychic medium who gets caught up in his own lies.” I happened to be looking for a new script idea to sink my teeth into and the more we talked about it, the more excited I got about the possibilities of the story. After those initial conversations with Rich, I did a deep research dive into the world of mentalism and mediums and came out the other end with the idea of CROOKED’s characters and plot. The story details evolved over the course of months, but that initial kernel of a psychic-medium-in-a-pressure-cooker-of-his-own-making stayed well intact throughout the whole process.
What was the most surprising thing you learned when writing A Crooked Somebody?
The most surprising thing I learned is just how easy it is to fake a psychic reading. With a basic understanding of human nature and probability, it’s actually infuriatingly simple to convince a willing mark that you have psychic abilities.
On average, how many draft scripts do you find yourself writing until you are happy and satisfied with your work?
It varies from project to project, but I think I wrote five drafts of A CROOKED SOMEBODY before I had it in a place I was ready to show the world.
List three adjectives to describe A Crooked Somebody?
Relentless, Surprising, Delightfully stressful
What piece of advice do you have for screenwriters starting out?
Write characters that actors would kill to play.
What is your favorite line from A Crooked Somebody?
I’m pretty partial to the titular line – “It’s better to be an honest nobody than a crooked somebody.” It sums up the story’s theme in a way I’ve always liked. It was also a line delivered by the legendary Ed Harris who makes every line sound like gold.
Were you ever on set for the making of A Crooked Somebody? If so, could you tell me what scene you were present at?
The film’s director (Trevor White) and I had a really collaborative relationship, so I was on set for every day of principal photography.
What are your thoughts on Rich Sommer playing Michael Vaughn and Clifton Collins Jr. playing Nathan?
I’ve been friends with Rich Sommer since we attended college together in the late ‘90s, so writing in his voice feels almost as familiar as writing in my own. Because the character was literally written for Rich, the whole experience would have lacked a bit of magic if he hadn’t been cast in the role. And I couldn’t be happier that the film’s producers agreed.
I was ecstatic (and still am) that Clifton agreed to play Nathan. I’d been a fan of his since I first saw him in CAPOTE and knew immediately that he’d be able to navigate all the hairpin twists and turns of Nathan’s character. Watching the film today, I’m still finding new things to love about his performance.
Could you tell us about an interesting or fun moment that occurred on the set of A Crooked Somebody?
We were scheduled to do an ambitious overnight shoot in the hills above Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Shortly after sunset, we realized it was the same night Guns N’ Roses were playing a VERY LOUD sold-out concert at the stadium. With a limited window of darkness and no flexibility to reschedule the shoot, our actors were forced to perform the movie’s climactic scenes while G n’ R’s music (along with synchronized fireworks) boomed just a few hundred yards away.
What is your favorite meal at your favorite restaurant?
The fennel sausage and goat cheese pizza washed down with a Piehole Porter beer at Station 66 Italian Bistro just off I-40 in Williams, Arizona.
If you could write and direct a film-adaptation of any novel/novella/short story, which one would you like to do?
David Benioff’s novel CITY OF THIEVES is one of the most cinematic books I’ve ever read – and one that I’d love to adapt. But as the highly acclaimed creator/writer of a little show called GAME OF THRONES, I’m guessing Benioff himself would be the studio’s first choice to adapt his novel. Just a hunch.
Last question, if you were forced to watch one movie (besides the ones you wrote), nonstop, for a whole day in a locked room, which movie would you choose?
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, one-hundred percent. And honestly, there wouldn’t be much forcing involved.
All in all, you need to check out this movie that Mr. Andrew Zilch has written. It'll be worth your while. I'd also like to give my appreciate to him for taking his time to answer my questions. I hope you all are having a fantastic holiday season so far. Thank you for stopping by to read my post..
You can rent or buy A Crooked Somebody on Amazon by simply clicking on the title of the movie. Take care:)