The Hollywood Reporter continues their round table series with a top-rate assembly of writers. Included in the mix are Julie Delpy ("Before Midnight"), who co-wrote with Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater, writer-director Nicole Holofcener ("Enough Said"), John Ridley ("12 Years a Slave"), Danny Strong ("Lee Daniels' The Butler"), Jonas Cuaron ("Gravity"), who collaborated with his director father Alfonso, and George Clooney and Grant Heslov ("The Monuments Men"). Watch below, plus quote highlights.
Since Clooney and Heslov did this panel, "Monuments Men" has been pushed out of the awards season bracket, now eyeing a February release. Heavyweight producer-director-star Clooney could have his pick of any panel he wanted, but agreed to be on the writers panel, as opposed to directors or actors. He wants to be seen as a writer, and clearly revels in that discussion, although it veers into his political areas of interest. And recent revelations about a trove of stolen art that got away from the real Monuments Men makes this movie more timely.
Clearly, THR's talent booker-interviews Stephen Galloway and Matt Belloni are sensitive to past criticism that their roundtables are often too male-centric. Not in this case! But Holofcener might have been a good inclusion for the directors panel as well...we'll see how that one shakes out.
Holofcener on getting "Enough Said" off the ground:
It was not hard at all. Fox Searchlight said, "We want to make a movie with you, but we want this one to have a little more plot and just give us a little more to market." Actually, I didn't really mind because I wanted the challenge of having to write a script that was possibly more commercial but still mine. Something that I wouldn't be embarrassed about, you know?
Delpy and Clooney also act. Does their writing change when writing for themselves?
DELPY: No. I mean, there is the period of writing where we're excited to write lengthy monologues, and then we get to rehearsing, where we look at the monologue, and we're like, "Argh!" It's very schizophrenic. And then we go into the acting process, and we become insecure, we don't sleep, we don't eat, we're freaking out. Actually, it made me realize acting is a very unsettling job. It makes you emotionally a mess, you know?
CLOONEY: I feel perfectly comfortable! What are you talking about? (Laughter.) But I've met a lot of insecure writers and directors.
Did Strong have doubts on writing about the African-American experience?
STRONG: Only in the way that I have doubts about everything that I write. And I always get through that with research. I just start doing lots of research, and then I start to feel comfortable, and then I'm sick of research and I just want to start writing. I mean, I've written female characters, and I'm not a woman.
HOLOFCENER: (Smiles.) That's not right!
Ridley on historical accuracy in "12 Years a Slave":
The only allegations that I'm aware of around 12 Years a Slave are actually pointed back toward [Solomon Northup's book about his experiences in slavery] -- which, to me, is very troubling because there were court cases, you know? These are things that have been documented.