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Screenwriter John Ridley Talks Writing ‘12 Years A Slave’ & His Hendrix Bio-Pic 'All Is By My Side’ (Video)

by Sergio
October 13, 2013 8:34 AM
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John Ridley

I’ll bet that at the end of the year, when you look at all the articles we’re written on S & A, 12 Years A Slave will be the film that we wrote about the most. And how could you blame us?

But practically everything that has been written about the film, either by us or anyone else, focuses on the director Steve McQueen. However, there was a screenwriter involved as well and, needless to say, without the script, there would no 12 Years to talk about.

So it’s rather refreshing to see an interview with 12 Years screenwriter John Ridley on the Huffington Post webcast, discussing how the film came to be, his collaboration with McQueen and how Django affected the making of the film.

But Ridley not only wrote 12 Years, he also wrote and directed the Jimi Hendrix bio-pic All Is By My Side, which was picked up for theatrical distribution by Open Road after its premiere at Toronto. And in the interview he talks about why he wanted to make the film, his approach to the subject, including the legal issues they faced in the making of the film, like the use of Hendrix’s more popular music - a situation he calls “a win all the way around”.

Ridley, who has occasionally appeared on MSNBC as a political pundit, is a veteran of the screenwriting trade, starting out writing some episodes for Martin back in the early 90’s, and has continued on with a very long list of credits including writing and producing sit-coms, dramatic TV series and features such as Three Kings, Undercover Brother and Red Tails (so O.K. not everything he's written is a masterpiece...)

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  • Uncredited Rewrite | October 14, 2013 3:27 PMReply

    I've been a HUGE fan of John Ridley's novels more than his screenplays. So, it's great for him to finally get his recognition. You should read some of the interviews after the whole Three Kings debacle. David O. Russell really tried to screw him out of his credit, but def check out some of his novels.

  • AFRICIATE! | October 13, 2013 5:50 PMReply

    Being a Screenwriting and Directing student, it is quite encouraging to see someone be successful in this craft. I definitely would look more into him and get inspired.... I do think the comment about all his works not being masterpieces is inappropriate and unnecessary. Let people get their credit without derogratory commentaries please.

  • sergio | October 13, 2013 6:03 PM

    "I do think the comment about all his works not being masterpieces is inappropriate and unnecessary"

    And I can say the same about that comment which makes you a hypocrite. How come it's fine for you and not for me?

  • Michelle | October 13, 2013 4:14 PMReply

    This must be the most humble, gracious and honest interviewee I've seen in a long time, truly inspiring and beautiful to see both of these dudes' effervescent love of cinema and with Ridley, the love of the craft of writing and storytelling shines right through. Awesome.

  • Toronto Kids | October 13, 2013 3:24 PMReply

    Very insightful...thank you for posting. Looking forward to seeing more from Mr. John Ridley.

  • JIHUDI | October 13, 2013 12:01 PMReply

    This was a really dynamic conversation. Great to see the Mr. Ridley getting his due.

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