Friday, August 03, 2007

Bourne Again Screenwriter

Today is my big day. The day my movie is opening. No, not a script I wrote... a script I wish I had written. I always tell people to write the kind of film you regularly pay to see - especially the type of film you can’t wait to see. For some of you reading this, that might have been SPIDER-MAN 3, I know I was interested in seeing it. For others it may have been PIRATES 3 or TRANSFORMERS or OCEANS 13 or KNOCKED UP or any of the other films that came out this summer. Every weekend at least one big film, and judging by the lines for THE SIMPSONS MOVIE many of you couldn’t wait to see it. I had to wait through most of the summer for my movie, BOURNE ULTIMATUM.

Now, the BOURNE movies aren’t perfect - no movie is. But they are my kind of movie, and I can easily overlook all of the problems in the first two films because for me, the good outweighs the bad. I love the gritty, realistic, *clever* action scenes. I love that the movies focus on character as well as amazing stunts. And I think Matt Damon is kind of the new Bruce Willis - a regular guy who you believe can kick ass. I needed to be convinced of that by the first film, because I though Damon was a pretty boy. He proved me wrong. I love action movies, but had no real expectations with the first BOURNE movie. Now, I hope this one lives up to the last two.

Often, the movies we can’t wait to see disappoint us. They either have too many flaws, and tip the balance far enough that we can’t really enjoy them... or they have built up our expectations to an impossible level - no way any film could be that good. In a way, movies are like love stories - as long as we end with a "happily ever after" title card then fade out, it’s the greatest love story ever told. It’s when we hang around for the arguments about leaving the cap off the toothpaste that we realize there’s no such thing as 100% happiness ever after.

So when your movie comes out, and you stand in line for an hour before seeing it - fantasizing about how great the movie is going to be - and it ends up disappointing you, don’t get angry and decide to write junk. Instead, write the kind of movie you wish it had been. Write the honeymoon, not the bitter divorce. Part of our job as screenwriters is to create that fantasy and desire and excited anticipation for the audience... then try to make sure our scripts do their best to fulfill those expectations.

I’m hoping this BOURNE movie will be the best of the three, but even if it’s not - right now I’m really excited about the film - enjoying it before I’ve seen it.

- Bill

Yesterday’s Lunch: Some sort of multi-grain roll at Starbucks that looked like it exploded in the oven.
DVDs THUNDERBALL - gearing up for Bourne.
Pages: 3 more pages on SLEEPER! Sure, it's less than the 5 I'd planned on, but I'm making progress. Also wrote a line that I think people will quote after they come out of the cinema.


crossword said...

It was the best of the three! We just got back from seeing it... what a ride. I'd hate to be the editors on that movie... lol

Erik said...

It was a pretty good flick. I have some quibbles with all of them - perhaps especially with this most recent one. But I liked that it seemed stronger on the story and themes than the second, and had the ramped up action of the third.

_ram-jaane' said...

Die Hard 4 & Bourne Ultimatum are the best action films I've seen in a long while .. Bourne certainly has matured as a film series. Without a doubt the best of the threequels we've been seeing this year.

Christian M. Howell said...

Bourne Ultimatum is destined to be good. Working from an action sequel can almost never fail to deliver.

As for your three pages, isn't that what we all want? To hear someone quote a line.

Aaah, the sound of vindication.

Bill Cunningham said...

Saw it. It was okay, but not great. Not too much emotional attachment in this one which really hurt it.

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