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Posts Tagged ‘Naomi Watts’

I couldn’t help but smile yesterday when I saw The Hollywood Reporter headline:

‘Holland, Michigan’ Tops 2013 Black List 

The Holland, Michigan script written by Andrew Sodroski received 46 mentions from film executives placing it at the top of the pile of the best unproduced scripts kicking around Hollywood.

While I know more about the town of Holland, Michigan (it’s a lovely place in Western Michigan with heated sidewalks downtown) than the script of the same name, here’s the story’s logline:

When a traditional Midwestern woman suspects her husband of infidelity, an amateur investigation unravels. 

Not a killer logline, so the script must be killer.

Collider reported that Holland, Michigan “will be directed by Errol Morris and stars Naomi Watts.” Deadline stated that the screenwriter Sodroski is a Boston native who has a MFA in screenwriting from Columbia University and repped by CAA And the LA Times added Sodroski is “a former Harvard medieval history major who now lives in Kosovo.”

Kosovo? Talk about screenwriting in unlikely places….

(Though honestly, both Harvard and Columbia are well-traveled paths to Hollywood—see update below. Having degrees from both is a good sign that Sodroski is a smart cookie. But that Kosovo is a curveball.)

On days like this it’s really fun to have this little niche in the screenwriting world. Cheers to Sodroski, and all the screenwriters who made the 2013 Black List.

I’m sure we’ll all be learning more about Holland, Michigan the movie and Andrew Sordroski in coming months. Until them feel free to learn more about the town Holland, Michigan via the Internet and enjoy the Sufjan Stevens song Holland from his album Michigan. Brooklyn-based Stevens was born in Detroit and attended Hope College in Holland, MI. (H/T to Indiewire for pointing out the Holland song.)

P.S. Holland, Michigan’s Tulip Time Festival held each year in May has been called by Readers Digest as the “Best Small Town Festival.”  A couple of years ago the town of 35,000  was listed as the second (behind Boulder, CO) Healthiest and Happiest Places in America.  And you may be surprised to know that Holland, Michigan (which sits across Lake Michigan from Chicago) is known for sailing. My Holland, Michigan based production friend John Grooters directed the documentary American Sailors.

Update: Found a link to the 2011 Harvardwood Writers’ Competition where Sodroski, along with co-writer Raven Burnett, were runner-ups for their feature script Dark Ops. Here’s the logline for the action thriller that reads better than the logline for Holland, Michigan:

When a team of American soldiers occupies a mysterious Afghani monastery, they suddenly find themselves battling enemies beyond their comprehension. 

Harvardwood helps connect Harvard Alumni and students to those established in the arts, media and entertainment. A nice perk if you’re connected to Harvard. Hollywood may be a small town (or a big high school) but it has more than a few Ivy Leaguers in general, and former Harvard students specifically; Darren Aronofsky, Matt Damon, Ron Bass and Terrence Malick just to name a few. Here’s a list of Darthmouth Alumni in Entertianment in Media, and you can follow the Yalies in entertainment at Yale in Hollywood. Oh, and Princeton University (Ethan Coen, David E. Kelly, Bo Goldman) has Princeton in Hollywood. 

Even if you can’t or didn’t attend an Ivy League school, if you live near Cambridge, New Haven, Hanover or Princeton you can still make friends at those schools. Work on student films, go see guest lectures they bring in, and get creative being a part of the culture there. In the case of Harvard, you can become a Friend of Harvardwood if referred by a current member.

Related posts (Note; Michigan and Boston come up time and time again on this blog):

Michigan related posts:

Screenwriting from Michigan
Michigan’s Sam Raimi & the Guy with Greasy Hair
Rejection Before Raiders
Saul Bellow & Unlikely Places
Start Small…But Start Somewhere
Elmore Leonard
From Ann Arbor to Smallville (David S. Goyer)
“Life of Pi” Screenwriter David Magee
Kalamafrickin’zoo’s Talent Pool
Screenwriting from Grand Rapids (near Holland)
Writer/Director Paul Schrader

Boston related posts:

Screenwriting from Massachusetts
Will Simmons’ Road to Hollywood
Writing “Good Will Hunting”
Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg
(Yawn)…Another Pulitzer Prize
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Screenwriting Quote #42 (Brad Anderson)
Screenwriting Quote #3 (Charlie Kaufman)
Screenwriting Quote #179 (Chris Terrio)
Screenwriting Quote #148 (Edward Zwick)
Writing “Edward Scissorhands”
Writer Michael Crichton (1942-2008)

Scott W. Smith

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“I can easily tell you what (Children of the Corn) doesn’t have, namely a solid narrative, good direction, complex characters, strong performances, and genuine terror. And yet, it remains an undyingly popular movie 25 years on.”
DVD Review

All week I’ve been in Sioux City, Iowa working on a production and I picked up a book yesterday that said the first feature film shot in this area was the 1984 Children of the Corn based on a Stephen King short story. The 92 minute film has a strong enough fan base to recently have been released in Blu-Ray for its 25th anniversary edition.

The original film starred Peter Horton and Linda Hamilton and cost $300,000. to make and went on to make over $17 million. at the box office. Six spin-offs have been made and while none were wildly successful there are some actresses who picked up some early experience working on one of the franchise films. The 1995 Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest was the début film of Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts starred in the Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering, and Eva Mendes is one of the stars in Children of the Corn V.

A TV version of the film was shot in Lost Nation, Iowa in ’08 (see photos) and shown on the Sci Fi channel in 2009. It was written and directed by Donald P. Borchers who was a producer on the original 1984 Children of the Corn.

And not that long ago Variety announced that the Weinsteins were producing a remake of the original with Ehren Kruger writing the script. (But I couldn’t find any other evidence that the movie was still in development. Maybe the TV version killed it.) But with the success of Avatar 3-D can Children of the Corn 3-D be too far off?

Though the stories takes place in Nebraska (usually a place called Hastings), for various reasons the films have been shot in various states including the first one in Iowa. Not sure why the original Children of the Corn was shot in and around Sioux City but I know it’s part of their folklore. Just like Lewis & Clark (and gang) passing through here on their famous journey west. They even have a monument for Sergeant Charles Floyd who died here in Aug. 20, 1804.

I couldn’t find a monument for anything related to the filming of Children of the Corn. Maybe it’s hidden in a corn field somewhere. (Then again, I wasn’t looking for one.) But what I did find was something somewhat related to Children of the Corn from a screenwriting perspective in a Q&A with Stephen King.

TIME magazine Nov. 23, 2007  Q&A: Talking with Stephen King

Gilbert Cruz: There have been so many movies and TV miniseries made from your stories and, not to be disrespectful, but some of them are stinkers. Sleepwalkers, Sometimes They Come Back and its various sequels, etc… How do you maintain quality control? Do you even try?
Stephen King: I’d go crazy. I don’t try to maintain quality control. Except I try to get good people involved. The thing is, when you put together a script, a director, and all the other variables, you never really know what’s going to come out. And so you start with the idea that it’s like a baseball game — you put the best team you can on the field, and you know that, more times than not, you’re gonna win.

And in my case, more of the movies than not — if we except things like Return to Salem’s Lot, Children of the Corn 4, The Children of the Corn Meet the Leprechaun or whatever it is — if you do that, then most times you’re going to have something that’s interesting anyway. That doesn’t mean you’re going to have the occasional thing that’s just a train wreck like Dreamcatcher, because that happens, right?

May all your train wrecks be as interesting as Stephen King’s.

Scott W. Smith

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