Hollywood winded down in December for the holidays and the new year, which meant the last month of 2016 ended up a slow one for script sales. But it wasn't completely silent. Amazon Studios picked up Jack Thorne's action/adventure spec The Aeronauts, based on the true story of balloon pilot Amelia Wren and scientist James Glaisher and their hot-air balloon adventure. Twentieth Century Fox acquired The State, written by Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani. The action/thriller spec follows a father in a desperate race to rescue his son. Anthony Jaswinski's action/thriller spec Highway One, which follows an Afghanistan veteran with PTSD who resorts to extreme measures after her daughter is kidnapped, found a home at DreamWorks. Working Title Films is set to produce Luke Garrett's The Englishman, a drama/thriller spec about East Germany's Ministry for State Security. Paul Dano in talks to star, Edward Berger (Deutschland 83) attached to direct.
Other script sales:
– Jon Lucas and Scott Moore to write/direct A Bad Moms Christmas, sequel to their 2016 hit Bad Moms.
– Tracy Oliver to adapt Nicola Yoon's young adult novel The Sun Is Also A Star for Warner Bros.
– Cristal Pictures acquired Adam Robitel and Gavin Heffernan's sci-fi pitch about scientific experiments that are intended to help global warming, yet backfire.
– Daniel Clowes to adapt Patience for Focus Features from his own graphic novel.
– Nick Yarborough (Letters from Rosemary) to adapt the biography The Secret Life of Dr. James Miranda Barry: Victorian England's Most Eminent Surgeon for Maven Pictures and Crystal City Entertainment.
– Bob Fisher and Rob Greenberg to rewrite the Overboard remake for MGM.
– Rodney Rothman to write/direct the female-driven spin-off to the 21 Jump Street franchise. He previously wrote 22 Jump Street.
The Library – Produced Scripts
Directed by the late Mike Nichols, Postcards features amazing performances from Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine, both of whom (in this writer's opinion) give career-best performances. But still, the script is the movie's star and features an abundance of gallows humor and the sharp, cutting comedy Fisher has become known for. Her wit only grew in the years since (take her subsequent roasting/honoring of George Lucas in 2005 as one example), but Postcards remains the quintessence of her writing prowess. Suzanne, the novel and movie's main character, overdoses and attempts to reclaim some sense of dignity in her life while still (in her mind) being overshadowed by her mother, former movie/musical star Doris Mann, an embellished version of Carrie's own mom. After Suzanne's overdose and stint in rehab, she is forced to move into her mother's house in order for the insurance company to cover her to act in a low-budget movie, which Suzanne and Doris both agree has a terrible script. Suzanne is tempted many times to return to her drug dependent days, as she starts a new romance and fights to remain sane.
In the script (even more so than the novel), Suzanne and Doris' relationship serves as the cornerstone and has many defining moments, but two in particular stand out. Early on, Doris tells Suzanne, "Ever since you were a little girl, I had this feeling that I'd lose you... that you'd be taken from me early" (an unfortunately prescient line), but toward the movie's end, Fisher wrote a heart-rending scene between the duo as Doris sits in her hospital bed after a drunk-driving accident. The scene serves as an excellent reconciliation between two women who had strong, combative, yet complementary personalities and still deeply loved each other. As Suzanne does her mother's makeup for her, they talk about their lingering issues and resentments towards each other, and in that moment, they're each at their most human.
On a more personal note, I watched Postcards twice in December: once right after Carrie died, and the second time after Debbie. I cried that first time, sobbed the second. This movie is impossible to separate from Debbie and Carrie's relationship, especially now given how closely they passed away, one day apart. (In case you haven't seen this quote and want to cry more, Debbie's final words were "I want to be with Carrie.") But my, and undoubtedly many other’s, reaction is a testament to how powerful this screenplay is. Without strong characters and strong relationships, this story would fall flat as a first-world-problems tale of substance abuse, but Carrie's screenplay defined her and her mother's relationship that well (even if she took artistic liberties with the truth). Suzanne and Doris's love for each other was apparent in every scene they shared, no matter how flawed they were or combative they got, and that is what cinema is about.
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds will be missed for many reasons. But most importantly, they were amazing, passionate humans, and the world has suffered a huge loss. We will remember them as amazing actresses, insightful writers, fighters for women's and LGBT rights, advocates for drug addicts and the mentally ill, and a hilarious mother-daughter team that brought joy to countless people's lives.
(P.S. If you haven't seen it, watch Albert Brooks's Mother, another excellent character study that stars Debbie Reynolds and makes for a pretty great double feature with Postcards from the Edge, albeit a quite depressing one in retrospect.)
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