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Butler's Script Sale of the Week...

Weekly Highlights

Let's hope they don't screw up the US remake of TAXI too badly. The original is a rip roaring action flick. Hopefully Luc Besson, producer on the original and now signed to produce the remake, will keep it real.

Don't you just wish you could hang out with George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh? The boys are producing an UNTITLED REVENGE THRILLER and have enlisted long-time Soderbergh staple Don Cheadle to make his directorial debut.

Original idea of the week has to be MAN ON A LEDGE about a guy who, having checked into a otel to kill himself, convinces the cops to shut down an entire city block and try to talk him down - while all the while his true intention is to take down the jewelry store across the street. This is the stuff that sells specs. And this spec did just that.


My pick of the week is the adaptation of novelist T.C. Boyle's THE TORTILLA CURTAIN by up and coming scribe Dayan Ballweg.

Ballweg was a finalist in last year's Nicholl Fellowships for his script YOUNG AMERICANS. He so impressed Scott Steindorf that the producer has fast-tracked the project with Richard Pearce attached to direct.

THE TORTILLA CURTAIN concerns the collision of class values when an urban yuppie hits a Mexican immigrant with his car. Like most novels, a lot of the action in Boyle's story takes place in the thoughts of the characters. And, like most novels, there isn't a strong central narrative. These, of course, are the main hurdles a screenwriter encounters when adapting a novel for the screen.

Apparently Ballweg has come up with a great idea for the book's transition. So let's say he writes a killer script, what about the director?

For the past few years, Richard Pearce has been working in TV. Maybe not the best choice for adapting a theme-heavy book like Boyle's, but Pearce also has LEAP OF FAITH (1992) under his belt. This underrated flick, while not a commercial success, showed that Pearce has a deft hand when it comes to thematic
progression and character development. I still think it's one of Steve Martin best acting jobs and we have to give Pearce some credit for that.

So we've got a relatively new scribe, a TV director, and a novel that some people may feel is unadaptable. Recipe for disaster? Maybe. But it's from challenges like this that truly creative people draw the most inspiration.

Let's hope what they come up with is an inspiration to us all.

- Edward Butler

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