Saturday, August 14, 2010

The script for The End of It All

In thirty years I've had eight, maybe nine scripts made from stories and novels of mine. Two pictures (one a tv movie) and a movie were made from them.

The biggest disappointment, which I've mentioned here before, was Moonchasers. After a certain producer announced that this would be her next picture two years of nowhere resulted. The second biggest was for the script of my novel Black River Falls. ABC paid some good money for it, the script was excellent, a good tv movie director was attached and a very good actress signed as the lead. W. Morris expected it to be green lighted over the next two weeks when it would then become a Sunday Night Movie. A week later ABC laid off something like 200 people and canceled the Sunday Night Movies.

A couple of the other scripts were ludicrous. One was so bad that when the director-writer called wanting/expecting to hear me call him a genius I told him all the things wrong with the script. I also told him I wouldn't renew his option. He got so pissed he told me (honest to God) "that I would never work in this town again" and that he would send copies to every studio in town and destroy its novelty. Huh? To his credit he overnighted me a long letter and apologized. I still wouldn't renew the option. It was that bad. He just wasn't right for the book.

Well a few years back a guy at HBO called and asked if I'd read his adaptation of Black Wings Hath My Angel by Eliot Chaze. He was test marketing it. I read it and was knocked out by it. Great work.

I heard from him four months ago and he said he wanted to option a story of mine for a feature film. This is a project he wants to do on his own not for HBO, though he'll probably show it there. I told him up front that of all the short stories I've written this is the least likely to make a picture. It's a wild black comedy about the difference between sex and love I realize that's an old-fashioned idea; they complement each other but there are differences). But he told me some of his ideas and I was amazed at how he planned to shape the material (it's twelve thousand words long) into a120 page script.

Well, he sent my his third draft as an attached file last night and I read it and I was knocked out by it. I laughed all the way through. He managed to keep my story and many of the scenes but he very skillfully upped the ante in all the right places.

This will probably never get made. It's Hwood after all. But even if it doesn't it's flattering to have a piece of my work handled with such wit and style. And he never once told me I'd never work in Hwood again.

11 comments:

Brian Drake said...

But all the checks cleared, right? I think that's more important than seeing your name on screen.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I would love to go to my local theater and see a film made of any of your work. George Clooney in Sleeping Dogs perhaps.

Ed Gorman said...

Thanks, Patti. Clooney would be good for sure. He would also be good--now that you mention it--for the script the HBO guy did.

Richard S. Wheeler said...

You have great story sense, and it shows in your treatment of the scripts and proposals you've received.

Gonzalo B said...

I'd love to see on of your Westerns get made into a movie, especially Death Ground.

Ron Scheer said...

Great story, Ed. The encouraging part is that there are still some good screenwriters working in Hollywood. I've seen one-acts I've written performed, and that experience can be gratifying or awful...

Tom K Mason said...

Great story and best of luck with it. (And even if it doesn't get made, maybe enough people will read the screenplay and get the idea to option something else of yours.)

Kenneth Mark Hoover said...

I love posts about process like this. Thank you for sharing. :)

Jeff Pert said...

Good luck w/ this one, Ed!

You mentioned "Moonchasers". Up until last month I'd never heard of it, but there was a pristine copy on a dealer's table at Readercon. It's now in my to-be-read file, and I'm looking forward to it.

Lee Goldberg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee Goldberg said...

I hope I can help change your luck in Hollywood, Ed... and make Gonzalo very happy, too.