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Posts Tagged ‘Jack Nickolson’

“I’ll tell you (what is wrong with cinema today)—nobody dies. It used to be that there were always two endings to any story—the hero either gets what he wants, or he dies trying. And in the 60s everybody died.  When Ratso Risso in Midnight Cowboy got to Florida he died, right at the end. Jack Nickolson got snuffed at the end of Cuckoo’s Nest. Let’s not talk about Bonnie & Clyde, they really died. Then the studios realized that they wanted sequels and now nobody dies. Because you can’t do a sequel if the character’s dead…So, in my opinion, there’s no real stakes in movies anymore, because you know going in that the main character is going to get what he wants, going to achieve the goal.
Academy & Emmy Winning Screenwriter Barry Morrow (Rain Man)
Interview with Stephen Jennings

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It’s interesting to me that the screenwriter who wrote one of the most memorable lines in recent cinema didn’t start out wanting to be a writer.

Before Aaron Sorkin wrote the Jack Nickolson line “You can’t handle the truth” in A Few Good Men, and before his multiple Emmy’s for West Wing, he was an actor. After graduating from Syracuse University with a BFA in musical theater in 1983 he moved to New York City.  And he got work as an actor…not on Broadway, or even off-Broadway, but way, way far off from Broadway.

“When I was twenty-one or twenty-two, I traveled the South with a touring children’s theater company called The Traveling Playhouse. When I say the South, we weren’t playing in Atlanta, we were playing Jasper, Alabama. We’d do six or seven shows in elementary school gymnasiums at about ten o’clock in the morning, then pile into a station wagon, and a van carrying the costumes and sets. We did The Wizard of Oz, Rip Van Winkle, and Greensleeves. We were paid thirty dollars a performance.”
Aaron Sorkin
Zen and the Art of Screenwriting
Interview with William Froug
Page 31

Sorkin says he had no interest in writing until one day at a “Motel Six or something” somewhere in Georgia when, “I don’t know why, I all of a sudden felt like Sam Shepard. I felt like I ought to be writing something. That’s the first time that thought went into my head, and it just kept nagging at me and I just felt like a writer without ever having written anything.”

Magical things can happen on the road—even in a Motel Six.

Dream big, start small.

Scott W. Smith

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