I said that I’d play catch up on the news when I got back from the con, so here’s an item that is about three weeks overdue. Yikes!
1408,a horror film written by Matt Greenberg, as well as Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, has been out at theatres for a few weeks now. I believe it’s still playing in some theatres. So if you want to see this film, there may still be time, but do check your local listings to be sure.
A picture of Matt Greenberg attending the world premiere of 1408 can be found here.
In related news, the following article, partially quoted from the Los Angeles Times, gives a interesting tale about the writing and rewriting process for this film as well as some insight about screenwriting protocol in Hollywood.
It was somewhere around the time that he was in his backyard grilling ribs for Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (“Man on the Moon”) and their families that Matt Greenberg (“Reign of Fire”) realized he had a unique screenwriting circumstance on his hands. Given that Alexander and Karaszewski had replaced him as the writers of the horror film “1408,” a friendly barbecue would have seemed unlikely.
As with most screenwriters, all three had been hired for development rewrites before and been rewritten themselves, but none could remember ever becoming so friendly with their ostensible collaborator — at least not during the active rewrite process. But here they were communing over Stephen King and some baby backs.
It’s actually supposed to be part of the screenwriters code — tacitly encouraged by the Writers Guild — that when a writer is hired to rewrite someone’s screenplay, he should throw a courtesy call to the previous writer (that is, when it’s not a pile-on with 22 writers, like “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” or “Stuart Little,” in which case most of the involved parties would be happy that you forgot to call them).
Then there are the true horror stories of when writers are set up to make the call that inadvertently informs the previous writer that he or she is in fact the previous writer.
Greenberg worked on the screenplay, an adaptation of a 20-page King short story about a man terrorized in a spooky hotel room, for a year at Dimension. But after the project lay quiet for a while, the producers told him they were bringing on Alexander and Karaszewski.
The writers dutifully called Greenberg to get his blessing, and although both parties admit to a natural tension, Greenberg, who counts Alexander and Karaszewski’s “Ed Wood” as one of his favorite movies, ultimately felt reassured by their ideas and subsequent drafts. (It also made a difference that this was not an original screenplay.)
“These guys really were doing the heavy lifting during production,” says Greenberg, who met with them fairly regularly. “I tried to keep my own ego in check and just recognize that, ‘Look, at this point I’m an informal consultant.’ ” They all eventually agreed over a handshake to a shared screenplay credit, which allowed them to bypass a dreaded guild arbitration hearing. In this rare case, their civility won out over a system designed to provoke competition.
“It was really nice that a good relationship came out of it,” Alexander says. “We were all on the same page.” “1408’s” due June 22.
Okay, more about the writing of 1408. What can I say? I find the whole screenwriting process absolutely fascinating. So here’s a podcast by Senior Editor Jeff Goldsmith of Creative Screenwriting Magazine. In it he interviews co-writer Matt Greenberg and the co-writing team of Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. Warning: This podcast is almost an hour long and it contains spoilers for the movie.