Déjà view

Will Smith: In talks to reprise his role in Independence Day sequel.

Will Smith: In talks to reprise his role in Independence Day sequel.

It must be so hard to be a screenwriter hawking an original script round Hollywood these days. The next Blade Runner, the next Godfather, the next Gladiator… hell, the next Star Wars, could be out there somewhere, carried hopefully in a folder to meeting after meeting, or doomed beneath a tottering slush piles in an executive’s office.

Hollywood doesn’t want originality right now. It wants scripts with built-in ready-to-serve audiences. It wants reboots, reshoots, reimagined, rewritten, sequel, prequel, threequel, franchise fodder, join the dots, templated, derivative drivel.

You can keep your original scripts; they want origin stories.

I took a quick peek at the film news on Empire magazine’s website. I shook my head and looked away. Here’s what’s on the way:

  • Kelsey Grammer Talks Transformers 4
  • Will Smith In Talks For Independence Day Sequel?
  • Robocop Reboot Trailer Online
  • Dwayne Johnson Will Be The Fall Guy
  • Alan Taylor In Talks To Direct New Terminator
  • Ice Cube Confirmed For 22 Jump Street
  • Warner Bros. Revisit Island Of Dr Moreau
  • Moomins To Star In First Feature Film

So that’s FOUR sequels, TWO reboots, ONE film version of an ’80s TV show and ONE possible franchise! (If you’re interested here’s the link to them.)

They’re right when they say there’s nothing new under the sun, but – jeez! – it’s very dark in Tinseltown when it comes to fresh ideas.

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4 comments

  1. Screenwriting is my preferred area. I love movies and watch them religiously. I’ve written a handful of short screenplays and now find myself about half way through a feature length. Problem is, I have no freakin’ idea how I could ever break into the business.

    I agree that Hollywood wants ready-made money makers. Its gotta be a franchise before it hits the big screen. Which leads me to believe that an aspiring screenwriter may be better off starting with a book or comic book series before they consider producing a film version of an original idea.

    If need be, one can self-publish a book. But a movie? As a solo project with no budget? Good luck.

    ALSO:

    Come on! An Independence Day sequel 15 years after the fact? Give me a break!

    1. Firstly, great to hear that you’re doing your thing without the need to find an outlet, Spencer. Writing for the sake of writing is where truth can be found… of course if a studio chief ‘found’ one of your scripts and rolled with it, then that would be great too!!
      Secondly, I’ve never written a screenplay but it’s definitely on my bucket list. I wrote this post solely as a disgruntled cinema-goer who’s frankly pissed off that Hollywood has now been taken over by the bean counters. Where are the auteurs? Oh yeah, they’re still producing great scripts (like yours) but they won’t see the day of the light till the economy is so awash with cash that they can take a punt on an original idea… Me? Angry? You betcha!
      Thanks for replying, Spencer, and good luck! 😉

  2. ericjames24 · · Reply

    Interesting. Can/should aspiring screenwriters write a reboot or sequel? Would an agent accept or read it?

    1. Hi Eric,
      Right now, it’s the only game in town. However, as another guest suggested, it may be better for writers who want to break into film to start out with a novel or comic book as a launch pad. As far as I can see (from the remove of Ireland) all the established screenwriters are cranking out the sequeltastic scripts, so it doesn’t leave any room for aspiring writers to make a pitch. I guess agents are on the same assembly line so their slush piles are weighed down with derivatives; another derivative will just get lost in there.
      I would suggest to every writer, regardless of the form they write in, is to write what YOU want to write. Stay true to your audience, even if that’s just you, your mother and the cat, coz Hollywood is treating its (thinking) audience with disdain right now!
      Thanks for the comment Eric!

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