In Scriptnotes episode 293, John August and Craig Mazin are joined by special guest Irene Turner (writer of An American Crime and producer for The Most Hated Woman in America) joins the show and all three talk about three recently popular articles, and the likelihood they will be turned into films.
To start off, Craig and John discuss Get Out, Jordan Peele’s new hit horror film, and the promise and weight Peele carries in the film world right now. Irene, the only one of the three to have seen the film Get Out so far, joins them and comments on how much she loved it and then talks about The Most Hated Woman in America, a film about Madalyn Murray O’Hair, a famous atheist who was kidnapped and murdered.
The bulk of the episode, however, is about three new sctories, The New Underground Railroad, You May want to Marry My Husband, and Prenda Law–the group that made porn and then hunted down illegal downlaoders of their porn so they could extort money from them, and the potential each one has to be a film.
I thought all three were interesting stories, which could work out. The majority vote at the end of the episode seems to be that The New Underground Railroad is the most likely to become a film, as the story about Prenda needs a specific type of person to adapt it well–preferably into a Coen-Brothers-esque dark comedy, and You May want to Marry My Husband would depend a lot on the wishes of the surviving members of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s estate.
The story about a new Underground Railroad is about a safehouse originally started by nuns which houses refugees and helps them get out of the us to safer places in Canada. It’s an awesome story, which I hadn’t heard before, and I wish everyone involved in it and similar endeavors the best. It might be a little early though, I think, to make a film about that. I don’t know. It’s a story that needs to be told, refugee struggles, but at the same time, if you expose very publicly the ways in which refugees are currently smuggled, won’t that make the work more difficult? And safety of the refugees I think ought to be the top priority. Of course, there’s already this massively famous article about it now, so maybe it’s a moot point, although I don’t think the article details do much damage to the group’s work. Maybe a film could be orchestrated much the same way. If it could, it would make a good film. It’s a very popular topic right now, issues dealing with immigration, and if made well it could benefit a lot of people.
Honestly though, I’m more interested to see if there is a way I could get involved personally in something like that, and help people.
The second idea, a very sweet article by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who has recently passed, written before her death about how great her husband is, basically asking some wonderful woman to marry him after she is gone. It was a very moving idea for a goodbye to a loved one. I have to agree with Craig and Irene that it’s too personal a story for me to want to make into a film or to go see. She made it public, and it’s a story that’s already been told, so it’s not one that needs telling. Maybe, if it was sort of about their lives before, almost like her husband’s farewell gift to her in return–a movie about her, immortalizing her and his love for her and her’s for him, ending with her writing that article and passing and his reaction, then it could work and actually by a very meaningful and sweet answer to her piece, but otherwise I don’t think I’d want to adapt it or see it adapted.
The final idea, the one about Prenda Law, is actually the one I would vote as best choice. I think it could be an incredible dark comedy, to see two guys pull off this massive scheme to rip off people downloading porn, and to be so hugely successful for awhile, before eventually being caught by a lawyer. It’s got drama, it’s a fantastic story that is real, it has great promise as a dark comedy (and plenty of material), and I don’t see any real downsides to adapting it. it would take someone with specific talents to pull it off, but I think there are plenty of capable people in the industry.
However, if I personally was having to choose one to make, I’d take the Underground Railroad story, because I think it’s the most important and could do a lot of good, but needs to be handled carefully. I think, with plenty of advice and help from people whose experiences these are and know this type of story inside and out, it could be spectacular.
I’m interested to see if Scriptnotes will be right, and The New Underground Railroad will be auctioned off soon.
To close the episode, Craig’s one cool thing is a podcast (the first ten minutes of the first episode of which follows the Scriptnotes episode), Tess Morris & Billy Mernit’s podcast You Had Us At Hello, Irene’s is I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore, and John’s is a running app called “From Couch to 4k” and one called “5k to 10k.”