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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Do you know too much?

Doug Liman (Go, Bourne Identity) is directing a new film called Jumper. As you know, I normally like to credit the writer above the director but in this case I think Doug has been a bit choppy in requesting rewrites and in fact 3 writers are credited. Not sure why you need all those guys as it's an adaptation from a novel by Steven Gould anyway. The film itself is about people jumping about in space and time and other people who try and stop them - blah, blah.

That aside, Doug said some interesting things about story in this month's Empire that chimed with the 'maverick writer' within me.

Why does the person you're following have to the hero? Actually in my conversations with Fox there's a scene we've been debating where Sam Jackson's character has a very sympathetic moment with a kid. The usual reaction is 'He's the villain of the movie so you can't show him having cotton candy with a kid'. There are two sides to every story.

The odd thing about this quote is that for script writers it throws up a debate about the difference between a protagonist and a hero. But 'real' people just read it and say 'dur - well, obviously'.

Sometimes as writers we know too much. It's okay to go with common sense and feelings sometimes you know!

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deepstructure said...

wow, can't say i ever thought a nugget of story wisdom would come from doug liman. :)

i often wonder about these conventions and if/when they'll change or breakdown. are audiences getting more sophisticated emotionally? they certainly are in other ways (amount and complexity of plotlines).

btw the film afaik, is based on the first two books and at least as far as the books go, there's no jumping through time. it's just teleportation.

Tim Clague said...

'just' teleportation! Who would ever think you could get away with saying that?

Agree with you re: Doug Liman as well, but you never know. In the article he talks about how he feels like he understands himself and his work much better now. But he also advocates an experimental approach of making things up a bit as you go along - much to the panic of studio execs!

Re: audiences. I think they are capable of more layers if given the chance. Who can ever forget the ending to French Connection?