Netflix has decided to adapt Ms. Lily Brooks-Dalton's novel Good Morning, Midnight. So far, two-time Oscar winner George Clooney will star and direct the movie. Mark L. Smith (The Revenat) will write the script. While rumors are stating that Ms. Felicity Jones will appear as well,but her role is yet to be known.
Smokehouse Pictures(owned by Grant Heslove and George Clooney) are producing the film along with Syndicate Entertainment and Anonymous Content. Filming starts on October 2019.
Happy 4th of July everybody. I hope you're enjoying this day with your loved ones. And while you're at it, I would suggest you see Netflix's The Perfection. Before you go see it, get to know the mastermind of brilliant horror/thriller film, Mr. Richard Shepard. He has worked on such movies like The Matador, The Hunting Party, I knew it was you, and Dom Hemingway. He also worked on television shows such as Ugly Betty, 30 Rock, Girls, The Twilight Zone,and Sweetbitter. So, read his experience with his latest film The Perfection and go watch it.
1. What is your favorite Brian De Palma movie? And have you met him in person?
Well, I’m a big fan of Brian De Palma and he was definitely an influence on The Perfection. My favorite Brian De Palma movie is called Dressed to Kill from 1980. It’s a deeply, stylish, incredibly weird, dark movie. I think it’s his best movie.
2. Have you met him in person?
I haven’t though I’m a big fan. Have you?
Me (Interviewee): No, I haven’t.
Mr. Richard Shepard: What’s your favorite De Palma's movie?
Me: Um… I have to say, probably, Carrie.
Mr. Richard Shepard: Have you seen Dressed to Kill?
Me: I’ve seen it on YouTube, clips of it, but I haven’t seen the whole movie.
Mr. Richard Shepard: You should really watch it. It’s pretty cool. It’s a pretty crazy movie.
Me: Awesome. I’ll definitely check it out.
3. Was The Perfection the original title or were there other titles?
That’s a good question. We didn’t have a title for a while when we were writing it. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a title, but as we were writing it, we used this piece of dialogue in the film when he was talking about The Perfection and then we were like, that would be a good name for the movie. So, we named it The Perfection and then we worked it in the script even more so that it was all sort of tied together. Titles are strange. You never quite sure about the right title until it happens and then you’re like, oh yeah it could be called nothing else but this.
4. If you had to describe The Perfection using three words, it would be…
Um… totally, crazy, bonkers
5. What drew you to direct The Perfection?
Well, I co-wrote the movie. I’m a director and a writer. For me, as I was writing the film I started falling more and more with the possibilities of what we could do with this film. So, by the time the script was done, I was like, oh I have really, really have to make this film. Of course wanting to make a film and getting the movie made are two separate things, because it’s so hard to get a movie made, but I’m very thankful that we were able to put it all together. So, because I wrote it the whole time, I was expected to direct it.
6. What is your writing schedule in general?
When I write a script on my own I try to write five pages a day. It’s not easy. When you’re writing a script with two other people, like I did on The Perfection, with Eric Charemelo and Nicole Snyder, we spend a lot of time breaking the story and figuring out all the twist and turn of the story. Then we wrote the script very, very quickly. We sort of divided it and wrote it. When I do it on my own, it’s five pages a day because I feel like it’s a doable amount, but yet when you put your head down and view it you can have a first draft in a month. It may not be very good but you, at least, have something to work with.
7. Are you a morning writer or night?
I write anything, anyplace, anywhere. I can write in a crazy, crowded coffee shop or absolutely quiet room. I can write in the morning, I can write in the night. Sometimes I’m inspired late at night, sometime I’m inspired in the morning. When I’m trying to do five pages a day I’m motivated to try and get it done as quickly as possible. So I tend to do it in the morning so that I can have the rest of the day free to go to the movies or whatever. In general, I’m a morning writer.
8. What is your favorite line from The Perfection?
That’s a toughie. As a filmmaker I love every single moment of my movies, so it’s hard to pick one in particular. So, it’s just very hard for me to just pick one line of dialogue. This movie is just so filled with twists and turns. It’s like there’s five movies in one movie in a way so it’s hard for me just to pick just one.
9. What has been the best compliment you heard about The Perfection?
The Perfection has been very polarizing. Some people really loved it and some people really hate it. What I’m most proud about is that there are not many people in the middle. I’m very happy with all the nice reviews the movie has gotten and some of the reviews have not been so nice. In general, people seem to have a strong opinion about this film and I think that movies that cause a strong opinion are the ones that actually are the most interesting so that was what I think is the best compliment I’ve gotten.
10. Could you give an interesting fun fact about working with Allison Williams and Logan Browning?
I asked both of them to learn how to play the cello to do the movie. They both play cellist in the film and I really thought it would be interesting if they play the cello for the movie so that they have a understanding of what it was like to be a professional musician and the amount of work it would take and also they would understand the sort of painful art thing that goes into learning an instrument from your fingers bleeding to your back hurting. So, both actors set out to learn the songs in the movie and they trained several days a week for months until we shot the film. That’s why their scenes where they were playing the cello in the movie were so authentic-looking. We didn’t use hand double or special effect; it’s really the actors playing the instrument.
11. What was your reaction when you first watched the trailer?
Well, I’ve seen the trailer, obviously, because I am the director. Netflix showed me various cuts of the trailers until we found the version that we liked and there was a big question of how many spoilers we would show on the trailer. I have them remove a few shots that I thought would give away too much. We still gave away a little in the trailer, but we have to do that in order to get people interested in the movie. I’ve seen a lot of people on the internet that they don’t watch the trailer and just go in blind. I think you can watch the trailer and still completely enjoy the movie. I’m very proud of it. It’s a very cool trailer for the film.
12. What TV show have you binge-watched lately?
I love Escape at Dannemora which is a ShowTime show that Ben Stiller directed. It’s a true life story about a prison escape that Benicio del Toro was in and Patricia Arquette. I thought it was fantastic.
13. What advice do you wish someone had given you when you were younger about the industry?
This is a tough question. It’s one of those decisions where you really have to be able to endure the ups and downs of it, because you can have real big highs and then real big lows. You have to manage that. You have to understand that there’s going to be times where you may not make any money and work for a period of time and it could get very depressing. Then there are moments when you’re busy all the time and it’s amazing. You have to understand it’s a real marathon and not a sprint. I’ve been basically lucky enough to be working in the business for close to thirty years now. I have my ups and downs without a doubt, but, you know, If I’ve known then that I would’ve survived those down moments it would’ve help get me through them certainly. It’s all about doing the work. I’m a writer as well as a director. And being a writer, I’ve been able to write when no one else would hire me. I could write and that was a big thing that helped me get through the period of time when I wasn’t getting employed. It’s a marathon and you can get through the dark period.
14. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter or producer, how would one get you to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
It’s very hard to get stuff send to the directors because, in general, we tend to not want to read something that was just send to us in the mail. You never know who might sue you later on. I know that sounds crazy, but if you wrote a book about a kidnapping and then I made a movie ten years from now that has a kidnapping in it. There is a rule where you say, “Yeah, I send you this book and you read it and there are similarity in your movie.” So, in general, it’s very tough to kind of send unsolicited material to directors. Now that said, we are always on the hunt for stuff. So, it’s a double-edged sword in a way. I think it’s always helpful to try and get an agent for your writing so that there’s a buffer between you and the artist you are trying to send it to, because if an agent sends the material to a director then he’s, at least, sort-of protected from a lawsuit. The fact is if a person is a writer and there are writing short stories or books if they keep writing them at a certain point, they would attract attention, because Hollywood is always looking for new stories. It’s sometimes hard to break in, but I always recommend to just keep writing, and at certain point, Hollywood will find you.
15. The movie that you wrote and directed, The Matador, got Mr. Pierce Brosnan nominated for the Golden Globe Award, could you express your experience working with him?
That was amazing experience. He (Pierce Brosnan) had just finished playing James Bond and The Matador was certainly a movie that sort-of rip from the idea of that. He was perfect for him to play that role. It was comedy and it was different from him than stuff he was doing. He was excited to do it. I only had pleasurable memories of doing that film. And, actually, he wrote me after seeing The Perfection to tell me how much he liked it and that was a real thrill. He is still one of my favorite people I’ve worked with.
16. In the memorable scene from The Matador when Pierce Brosnan was walking in his underwear in the hotel, was that in the first draft of your screenplay or after revising it?
There was a version of it, originally, and then I cut it out. Then, when we were at that hotel I said to Pierce, “You remember when we had an idea that he is drunk in the morning. What about the idea that he was walking in the lobby in his underwear?” And he was like, okay I like that idea, but I’ll only give you one take. So, we did it in one shot, and in fact, some of the people in the background were real guests of the hotel. No one knew it was going to happen. He took off all his clothes and just did it in one take. It was really fun to do. It was obviously one of the funniest moments in the movie. You know, that was certainly the situation where—at that point of the process—he trusted me and was willing to do it. It became an iconic shot without a doubt.
17. What was your overall experience directing The Wunderkind episode of The Twilight Zone?
I’m really a fan of The Twilight Zone. It’s one of my favorite TV Shows and I was excited to be able to direct an episode of the new version of it. The finished product is not necessary the episode that I wished it was, but you know, sometimes that happens, because the producers end up re-cutting and turning it into the episode that they want. So, for me, it was not the greatest experience, but I’m still glad that I got to do it.
18. Last question, if you could meet Park Chan-Wook, what would you ask him?
I would be out-of-my-mind excited to be able to meet him, because he is one of my favorite filmmaker of all time. I think I would always be nice to just hear stories as oppose to asking a specific question. So, I would just like to hear him tell me how he came about writing Oldboy and what his experience making that movie was like. Every director goes his or her own challenges making a movie that it’s almost impossible to understand or impossible to ask specific questions. I tend to like to hear directors tell stories about the making of the movie especially something as ambitious as Oldboy. I’m sure he got a lot of interesting stories.
I really like to take this time to thank Mr. Richard Shepard for having the phone interview with me. You should definitely see The Perfection, Netflix's most twisted, shocking horror/thriller film yet. You can follow Richard Shepard at @SaltyShep. I hope everyone is having a fantastic fourth of July and to my international readers I hope you have an amazing day. Thanks for stopping by here and I hope to do so again.
What does Legally Blonde, She’s The Man, and 10 Things I Hate about You have in common? Those iconic flicks were co-written by yours truly, Ms. Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith. Furthermore, she also worked on such movies as Ella Enchanted, The House Bunny, and The Ugly Truth. Not only is she a gifted screenwriter, she is also a novelist and poet. The Geography of Girlhood is her first novel while her poems were featured in Rush Hour: Reckless, Gettysburg Review, and Shenandoah. Trinkets is her latest YA novel and it’s now a Netflix series. So, chill down and to get to know Ms. Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith before you check out Trinkets; the novel and series.
1. What is the genesis of Trinkets?
It began as a film idea inspired by a bit of real life shenanigans.
2. What research did you do when writing Trinkets?
Yearned to find a Shoplifter’s Anonymous program, but when I couldn’t, I realized there was a concept here that hadn’t yet been explored. So I went to several AA meetings for texture. Once I was done writiing the book, I gave it to a friend who’d lived her whole life in Portland to make sure I got the details right, since I’d only lived there as a kid.
3. What was your writing schedule when you wrote the Trinkets novel?
It was loose. Too loose. I ended up being years late for the book, because I had a lot of screenwriting projects going on at the same time. So I finally just had to buckle down and crank it out on a drop-dead deadline. I had a writer’s assistant who helped kept me honest, and she’d come over and we’d write together. I really needed to be nursed through it, even though it’s such a short book, embarrassingly enough.
4. Do you like to map out your fiction plots ahead of time, or just let it flow?
I have to have a road map. A beat sheet.
5. Do you ever get writer’s block? What do you do to get back on track?
My hurdle is more procrastination than actual block. Gotta just write through it, dare to suck, and something good will come.
6. Silly-Game question: From the novel Trinkets could you please leaf through the pages and point at a random place. What is the full sentence? And what is the page number of this random sentence?
“I point the camera at Tabitha who smiles like a beautiful girl on autopilot.” - it’s from Elodie’s POV, p.139
7. Which of the three characters (Moe, Tabitha, and Elodie) did you have difficulty writing and why?
Tabitha went through quite a few drafts I remember through the editing process to make her more of a mean girl, give her more snark. I felt so much compassion for her that iniitally, she and Elodie’s melancholy read as a bit too similar.
8. Which one is more challenging for you: writing the novel or writing the screenplay to Trinkets?
I would say the novel was more challenging because it’s a less familiar form and it took me so damn long! On the teleplay, I collaborated with two writers, who wrote the pilot, so I gave them notes and honed it with them, which was far more fun.
9. Could you express your experience co-writing the screenplay of the self-published novel Legally Blonde?
Joyful and festive. A lot of debates and a lot of laughter.
10. List three adjectives to describe your writing partner Ms. Karen McCullah?
Strong, confident and funny.
11. Have you seen Legally Blonde: The Musical? If so, what are your thoughts on it?
We were flown there for opening night on Broadway and it was so surreal and fun to see it - it was link a pink roller coaster ride. They had pink curtains, pink carpet. I remember the dance choreography being really spectacular. And of course it was a thrill to see musical numbers built around our lines of dialogue and things that we’d invented, like the Bend & Snap, etc.
12. If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter, how would one get you or any expert to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
Come up with a great long line and pin it on Twitter. Maybe reach out and connect with the person on Twitter.
13. Which filmmakers/screenwriters do you admire?
I admire Mike Nichols. Elaine May. Jane Campion. Colin Higginis who wrote Harold & Maude, Foul Play and 9 to 5. I always wanted to know more about him.
14. What is your favorite line from one of your screenplays?
Either the poem from 10 Things I Hate About You or “the eyes are the nipples of the face” from The House Bunny.
15. What was the last book you gave to someone as a gift?
Sarah Ramos gave me a book called PAPERBACK CRUSH. And I met Terest Marie Mailhot recently and she gave me a copy of her book HEART BERRIES, which is stunning.
Also, the publishers just sent us copies of our graphic novel SMOOTH CRIMINALS volume 1, which is coming out on July 9. it’s a female buddy heist/time travel story about a hacker in 1999 who discovers a cryogenically frozen cat burglar from 1969.
16. Do you recall the first story you ever wrote?
I remember writing on the boat where I grew up, small stories, and I remember writing a story in 4th grade that was really well received.I think it was a spooky story oddly?
17. Could you give us a sneak peek about your next project?
I’m working Party Girls with Karen, a female ensemble about three 70something friends from Studio 54 who reconnect to continue the party.
18. Last question, what is your favorite slang?
Wow! Interesting question. I’ll have to think about that!
I truly appreciate Ms. Kristen "Kiwi" Smith for doing this interview. Luckily, the Trinkets series is now on Netflix so check that out. In addition to that, read the novel the series is based on: the ebook version is currently available while you can pre-order the paperback version right now by clicking the links. No doubt the book will make an excellent summer read. Also, get to know more about this fantastic screenwriter and author by visiting her website: https://blog.kiwilovesyou.com. Thank you all for stopping by and I hope each and everyone of you have a great day and a happy read.
The 2018 New York Times bestselling/ Newbery Award winning novel, Hello, Universe, has gotten the attention of Oscar-winner Mr. Forest Whitaker along with Netflix. Mr. Whitaker, along with Nina Yang Bongiovi, are producing the project. Mr. Michael Golamco will write the screenplay. The book will be made into a live-action family movie.
The novel is about a shy boy who fell in a well and a team of his friend trying to find him. The story involves multiple (two boys and two girls to be exact) points of views. Netflix announced the deal on Wednesday, May 22nd.
source material: variety.com
I did a blog interview with the author of The Silence, Mr. Tim Lennon, about the novel and its film adaptation. You can check it out now: http://novelpro.weebly.com/latest-news/interview-with-mr-tim-lebbon-author-of-the-silence
Netflix has picked up the drama series titled Green Door. It was written by Taiwanese author Joseph Chen and it's about a psychologist who went to Taiwan from the United State to start his own practice. From there unusual events and individuals starts to bring up the main character's foggy past.
The drama series began in February and was aired in Taiwan television on Saturdays. It was directed by Lingo Hsieh who is known for the movie The Bride. Jam Hsiao, Ying-Hsuan Hsieh, Wei-Hua Lan, and Haden Kuo form the casts in the series. This move on Netflix's part is a way to diversity their content.
source material: variety.com
In the Near Future, we must save Earth or leave it.
Here is the synopsis to a superb, otherworldly film--directed by Jonathan Helpert--titled IO:
Sam (Margaret Qualley), one of the last survivors on a post-cataclysmic Earth, is a young scientist dedicated to finding a way for humans to adapt and survive, rather than abandon their world. But with the final shuttle scheduled to leave the planet for a distant colony, her determination to stay is rocked by the arrival of another survivor, Micah (Anthony Mackie). She must decide whether to journey with him to join the rest of humanity and begin life anew, or stay to fight for Earth's survival.
Co-writer Mr. Charles Spano has also worked on films such as Embers(available on iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix) with director Claire Carre and Bouncing Cats(available Amazon , iTunes, and Netflix) with director Nabil Elderk. So, here is the splendid interview with Mr. Charles Spano about his experience on Netflix's IO.
Could you express how you came to writing the screenplay of IO?
There was a children's sci-fi show called Star Stuff that I used to watch when I was a little kid in the early 80s. It only aired in the greater Philadelphia area, so I doubt that many people remember it. But it was about a boy on Earth who had a sort of pen pal who was a girl in space. I was only maybe five years old, but it had a profound effect on my young imagination and it stuck with me. That relationship of the two characters in that show inspired the idea that would become IO.
How was your experience co-writing IO with Clay Jeter and Will Basanta?
All screenwriting teams have different ways of working together. Clay and Will and I used to go on hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains and Angeles Crest and out on Mount Baldy - we called ourselves the Weekday Hiking Society, partially serious, but partially as a joke because we were content to be broke and living life climbing up a mountain and look down on Los Angeles and see all the people in their cars coming and going from work and meetings. On those hikes we would encounter abandoned radio towers, the ruins of buildings, and things like the Observatory on Mount Wilson. And it was walking through these places and imagining that we were on a future abandoned Earth that let us immerse ourselves in the world of IO. That's how we did our development - the mountains were our writer's room - we'd walk and talk about the characters and what they would be going through and how they would feel. Keeping a lot of mental notes and writing it all down later.
What was your writing habit when you wrote IO?
Usually writing pretty intensely for about 5 hours at a time. I wrote the first couple drafts in a mad dash. And then we were invited to the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and that began a long process of rewriting. From that point we traded countless drafts back and forth because during much of the actual writing I was in New York and Clay and Will were in Los Angeles. When Jonathan Helpert came on to direct, he brought a very strong vision to his interpretation of the material and he and I spent a lot of time talking about Sam and Micah, and their journeys.
What research did you do when writing IO?
Climate change, Greek mythology, bees, solar sails, long distance space travel, space stations, geosynchronous orbit, W.B. Yeats. Will was our expert on hot air balloons and gas balloons.
What was your reaction when you first watched the trailer of IO?
There is a strange feeling when you see the trailer of a movie you wrote because it exists in a way that it never has before. Even when you have seen cuts of the film the trailer somehow makes it real in a different way. I guess because it has been handed over to the audience and now it belongs to them.
What’s the best advice you have ever received about writing?
It's tough advice to hear, but I had an agent tell me that when a writer is ready for an agent, agents will contact you. I thought that was crazy. Then how are you supposed to have any hope of ever getting an agent? But it turned out to be true.
Oh and I remember reading an interview with Billy Bob Thornton after Sling Blade came out where he said just keep writing screenplays and by your eighth screenplay you will probably be good enough for it to get made. I think that also turned out to be true for me.
On a practical note, the best advice I can give about writing is what my wife and writing partner Claire Carré and I call Rule Number One: write it down. What I mean by that is any idea you have, any breakthrough in plot or thoughts about character - write them down right away! Ideas that seem like you'll never forget can be gone from your mind in days or even hours.
Do you recall the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was about a time traveling detective named Frank. I think I was in First Grade. At a young age I was very enamoured with a sort of 40s style. Fedoras and characters with hard boiled sounding names.
What’s your favorite line from IO?
I won't quote it directly, but there is a scene where Sam asks Micah what animals he saw when he was a boy. I find this moment touching because we are living in a reality where the future could very well be a world with no animals.
What writers inspired you to be a screenwriter?
When I was younger, I really sparked to Michael Tolkin's The Player, a film from his own novel directed by Robert Altman. In some ways it was also about being a screenwriter which seemed cool and enticing. And then it was all Paul Thomas Anderson, who I think has described himself as being a writer first and a director second. After that I wanted to write mad, fever dream screenplays like Werner Herzog, and scripts that felt like Milan Kundera and Don DeLillo novels.
For IO, obviously Tarkovsky was a big influence, but so was Jon Raymond who wrote Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, and Meek's Cutoff for Kelly Reichardt.
Reprise by Joachim Trier and Eskil Vogt is a script that has had a lasting influence on my writing and I love Paul Schrader's screenplay for The Mosquito Coast. But, more recently I've been inspired by The Knick which was created by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler, Michael Hirst who created and wrote 89 episodes of Vikings, and Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers and all the writers on Halt & Catch Fire who I think are responsible for some of the most moving screenwriting ever.
In your experience, what would you say it takes to be a successful screenwriter?
Just sticking it out. Try to be the last one standing. Because there is a lot of rejection in screenwriting and it will feel, maybe accurately, like everything is conspiring to make you give up. But if you stick it out long enough you will also find that you've written quite a few screenplays and that you've gotten better at it. The trick is that for every script you write you have to fully believe that it is definitely going to be made, while simultaneously accepting the reality that getting anything made into a movie is incredibly unlikely.
If a self-published author is seeking a screenwriter, how would one get you to read his or her story to see if it would make a compelling movie?
That's tricky. Because as working screenwriters we get sent a lot of material from our agents that we need to read, often quickly. Like, an entire series of 500 page novels for one pitch. And then if we've been lucky enough to sell a show and are staffing a writer's room, that means reading over a hundred sample pilots. And then after that we need to read our friends scripts and give them notes. So there is not a lot of reading time left. I think building up fan base for your self-published stories could lead to discovery because agents and studios are always on the search for material. But agents don't accept unsolicited material. With writers like me, you can find my email online and contact me directly, and there are plenty of writers you could DM. I'd say be polite, ask if they would consider reading your story and don't be surprised or insulted if they don't have time. The reality of it is that screenwriters have tons of our own stories we want to tell which are in the queue for us to write someday, so it is hard to displace those. I guess my best advice is if you think that your self-published story would make a great movie and you can't find a screenwriter interested in optioning it from you then write the screenplay yourself.
What would it take for you personally to be interested in translating a self-published story into a screenplay?
I'd personally have to be very captivated by the concept, because if I'm adapting a short story, I'm going to dimensionalize the characters myself, so it would really be about the concept being both exciting but also subjectively resonant to me. That or encountering a story so authentic in it's representation of an experience wholly foreign to me that it is unlike anything I've ever read. But I've read a lot of short stories and there are very few I would want to adapt as a screenplay.
What do you like best about yourself?
Ha, that's a funny question. I have a strong sense of principles and identity.
Last question, if you had to write yourself as a villain, what kind of villain would you be? What would you be named?
That's also a strange question. I do relate to the Magneto of Marvel's 2014-2015 Cullen Bunn run, who is trying to save mutants from persecution. The best villains believe they are doing the right thing.
When all's said and done, you would definitely miss something special if you don't give Netflix's IO a try. I would like to definitely thank Mr. Charles Spano for his time to reply my interview questions. Also, I would like to thank you, the reader, for reading this blog interview. Take care and I hope you have a happy day.
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