"Given the indignities to which they are subjected, screenwriters can be forgiven if they feel under-appreciated or consigned to the bottom of the Hollywood totem pole. Now, it's payback time. This entertaining companion to Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman's book of the same name gives writers the first and last word on their craft and making it (or not) in the business. "I think the public would be shocked to see how many movies that end up horrific started out as pretty good screenplays or at least screenplays you can see why the studio made this movie," says Mark D. Rosenthal, who wrote the unfortunate Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. The impressive roster of scribes includes Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), Larry Cohen (It's Alive), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), Naomi Foner (Running on Empty), William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), and Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver). The shared wisdom and Us vs. Them war stories ("them" being directors, development executives, studio heads, and actors) provide a revelatory look at the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (and misfortune) that even the most successful writers suffer. The stories range from the good (on September 3, 2006, Justin Zacham got married and the next morning flew to L.A. to go to Jack Nicholson's house to work on his script for The Bucket List with Jack, Morgan Freeman, and Rob Reiner), the bad (Michael January laments that the movies he writes go direct to video or cable), and the ugly (Genevieve Turner laughs that the notorious hack Uwe Boll's film of her script for Bloodrayne "blows"). Save for illustrative film clips from such movies as Get Shorty, The Last Tycoon, and Barton Fink that introduce each section of the documentary, Tales from the Script is all talking heads, but these heads make their living telling stories, so it seldom flags. A writer writes, so perhaps not even Stephen Susco's reality check--that of the 38 scripts he's written only three have been produced--is likely to deter anyone determined to enter the profession. As one writer states, "It's a hard way to make an easy living." --Donald Liebenson
"Relentlessly entertaining." -- New York Magazine
"Full of wry one-liners, well-spun anecdotes, and pithy observations on the movie-making industry." -- Village Voice
"Tales from the Script is actually the ideal summation on the art of screenwriting: rigorously structured, filled with great stories." -- NPR.org
Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), John Carpenter (Halloween), Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver), and dozens of other Hollywood screenwriters share penetrating insights and hilarious anecdotes in Peter Hanson and Paul Robert Herman's TALES FROM THE SCRIPT, the most comprehensive documentary ever made about screenwriting. By analyzing their triumphs and recalling their failures, the participants explain how successful writers develop the skills necessary for toughing out careers in one of the world's most competitive industries. They also reveal the untold stories behind some of the greatest screenplays ever written, describing their adventures with luminaries including Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman, Stanley Kubrick, Joel Silver, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg.