Earlier this week I watched the movie Speed that I hadn’t seen in quite a few years—maybe a decade. Hard to believe that movie came out more than 15 years ago. It holds up well.
Speaking of holding up well, how about Sandra Bullock? (The 45-year-old actress was named by the Quigley Publishing Company list as the top box office star of 2009.) Before her soon-to-be greatly nominated roll in The Blind Side (which has already made $200. million at the box office), her breakout role was in the blockbuster hit movie Speed.
I thought I’d track down a quote from Graham Yost, the screenwriter of Speed. Yost is from Ontario, Canada where his now retired dad was a TV host in Canada on several programs including Saturday Night at the Movies. It was the elder Yost, who told his son about an Akira Kurosawa screenplay The Runaway Train* that provided the seed of inspiration for Speed. (Are you allowed to use seed and speed in the same sentence?)
“When I moved to New York at the age of 22, my plan of action was to write anything that anyone would pay me to write. I wrote jacket-flap copy for Doubleday, I got a job with The Encyclopedia Britannica, I wrote everything. But I always wanted to write for movies and television. After four, five years in New York, I moved to LA and started developing story ideas on a Nickelodeon show called Hey Dude. After that show finished, I had some extra time and wrote Speed.”
Creative Screenwriting 3/22/04
Edited by David Konow
Yost went on to be nominated for an Emmy as one of the writers of Band of Brothers and won a Primetime Emmy as one of the producers of From the Earth to the Moon. Currently he is the creator and executive producer on the TV series Justified that will première on FX in March 2010. (Justified is based on the Elmore Leonard novella Fire in the Hole.)
*The 1985 American film Runaway Train was based on Kurosawa’s script.