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Screenwriters Talk About 2013’s Toughest Scenes to Write

posted by Nell Minow

Inside_Llewyn_Davis_gate_of_hornNew York Magazine’s Vulture blog has some fascinating interviews with the screenwriters behind some of the year’s best films, “Fruitvale Station,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Philomena,” “The Butler,” “Iron Man 3,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Before Midnight,” “The Spectacular Now,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Enough Said,” and “Gravity.”  Each was asked to describe the toughest scene to write.   Some of the choices are what you might expect — the fight scene in “Before Midnight,” Martin’s delivering the sad news in “Philomena,” the meeting with the alcoholic father that is a turning point in “The Spectacular Now,” the twist about the Ben Kingsley character in “Iron Man 3.”  The way that the writers frame the problem and consider the options is fascinating.  It is also fascinating to see some unexpected choices like the selection of the audition song in “Inside Llewyn Davis” or the scene with the two slave women having an unexpectedly civilized cup of tea in “12 Years a Slave.”  The fact that those scenes are so fully organic that they do not seem to have been difficult is proof of the talent of these superb writers.

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Some of these screenplays appear on the new list of Writers Guild nominees:

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

American Hustle, Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell; Columbia Pictures

Blue Jasmine, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics

Dallas Buyers Club, Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack; Focus Features

Her, Written by Spike Jonze; Warner Bros.before midnight

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Nebraska, Written by Bob Nelson; Paramount Pictures

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

August: Osage County, Screenplay by Tracy Letts; Based on his play; The Weinstein Company

Before Midnight, Written by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke; Based on characters created by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan; Sony Classics

Captain Phillips, Screenplay by Billy Ray; Based on the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Seaby Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty; Columbia Pictures

Lone Survivor, Written by Peter Berg; Based on the book by Marcus Lutrell with Patrick Robinson; Universal Pictures

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The Wolf of Wall Street, Screenplay by Terence Winter; Based on the book by Jordan Belfort; Paramount Pictures

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

Dirty Wars, Written by Jeremy Scahill & David Riker; Sundance Selects

Herblock – The Black & The White, Written by Sara Lukinson & Michael Stevens; The Stevens Company

No Place on Earth, Written by Janet Tobias & Paul Laikin; Magnolia Pictures

Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley; Roadside Attractions

We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks; Written by Alex Gibney; Focus Features

 

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