20 Stories

Woman Who Wrote ET Screenplay Is Dead

Melissa Mathison was once married to Harrison Ford

(Newser) - Melissa Mathison never wrote down to her audiences. Known for her family-friendly films like ET the Extra Terrestrial and the elegant The Black Stallion, Mathison's stories were rich with symbolism, adventure, depth, and darkness. With their intricate plots and grown-up themes of loneliness and loss, her films enchanted a... More »

Nora Ephron 'Gave Women a Voice'

Groundbreaking screenwriter mourned

(Newser) - Nora Ephron, who has died at age 71 , gave women a voice and opened door for them, Lisa Belkin writes in a tribute at the Huffington Post , praising the late screenwriter, director, and author's gift for celebrating—and roasting—romance, sex, and aging. "By putting the female experience... More »

Nora Ephron Dead at 71

Hollywood legend had a blood disorder

(Newser) - Filmmaker and writer Nora Ephron has died at age 71, reports TMZ . Ephron, who wrote the screenplays for Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally, had "emerged over the past four decades as one of America's warmest and most acute chroniclers of contemporary culture," says the... More »

Angry Ex Hits 'Moonstruck' Scribe With Sex Lawsuit

John Patrick Shanley denies allegations by Amanda Jencsik

(Newser) - A former flame of John Patrick Shanley has hit the writer with a $5 million lawsuit for allegedly abusing her during a violent sexual relationship, the New York Post reports. But 61-year-old Shanley, the Oscar-winning author of "Moonstruck" and "Doubt," denies that he committed any non-consensual sex... More »

Miley 'Ghastly' in Last Song

Critics not fond of Nicholas Sparks exercise in teen love, death

(Newser) - The Last Song has two strikes against it in most critics' opinions: It's Nicholas Sparks' adaptation of his book...and it stars Miley Cyrus. On the plus side, baby turtles? Some takes:
  • It's not that bad, Roger Moore writes in the Orlando Sentinel . "Not a great film," of
... More »

Final John Hughes Script May See Big Screen

Rumor gives Paramount inside track for 'Grisbys Go Broke'

(Newser) - John Hughes died last year—last night's Academy Awards even paused for a tribute—but he may have one more movie in him. Rumor has it that Paramount will pick up an unproduced Hughes script in the hopes of making a family comedy, according to the Hollywood Reporter . Grisbys Go ... More »

Serious Moonlight a Dim Effort

Filming slain writer's script a fine sentiment, poorly executed

(Newser) - When Waitress writer-director Adrienne Shelly was murdered, in 2006, she left behind the script for Serious Moonlight. Critics speculate that she might have made it work, but that hasn't happened:
  • "A wife duct-tapes her husband to a chair and tells him that she will make him fall in love
... More »

Lauren Bacall Wins an Oscar

Roger Corman, Gordon Willis, John Calley share the spotlight

(Newser) - A mere 65 years after her unforgettable screen debut, Lauren Bacall has won an Academy Award. The honorary Oscar was a high point of a ceremony last night in Los Angeles that also celebrated the careers of filmmaker Roger Corman, cinematographer Gordon Willis, and producer John Calley. "I can't... More »

Ballsy Move Helped Gervais Cast New Movie

Phillip Seymour Hoffman has a really good sense of humor

(Newser) - Ricky Gervais, perhaps best known for the original version of The Office, bids for movie stardom with The Invention of Lying, out next week. Gervais co-wrote, co-directed, and stars as the only person on earth with the ability to lie. He tells the Telegraph about the experience, and what jumps... More »

Read Your Script? F—, No!

History of Violence writer tells it like it is

(Newser) - Josh Olson is a professional screenwriter, and his time and experience are money. So just as the author of A History of Violence wouldn’t ask you to “represent me in fucking court, or take out my fucking gallbladder,” please, don’t ask him to give you advice... More »

Behind Mad Men Are...Women

Women directed five of this season's 13 episodes

(Newser) - The misogynists who populate Mad Men's character ranks might make you think otherwise, but seven of the show's nine writers are women—a rarity in Hollywood, where 80% of primetime programs in 2007-08 had no female writers. “A lot of people think women can only do women shows,”... More »

My Pen Pal, John Hughes

Teen approached iconic filmmaker, who responded with kindness, advice

(Newser) - For one teenage fan in the 1980s, John Hughes was more than just a director; he was her pen pal. "He made me feel like what I said mattered," a grieving Alison Byrne Fields writes on her blog. They corresponded for 2 years, and "he loved... More »

On the Waterfront Writer Schulberg Dead at 95

(Newser) - Legendary Hollywood screenwriter Budd Schulberg has died, the New York Times reports. He was 95. Schulberg, who won an Oscar for On the Waterfront in 1955, was the son of a movie mogul and grew up as a Hollywood insider. His 1941 novel What Makes Sammy Run?, a scathing look... More »

Writing Porn Is Easy, But the Pay Stinks

(Newser) - In many ways, the life of a porn screenwriter is a breeze compared to Hollywood, Christopher Beam writes for Slate. “Your average 90-minute porn film will have between five and seven sex scenes,” he explains. “At five to 10 minutes each, that leaves only about a half-hour... More »

Playwright, Screenwriter Horton Foote Dead at 92

(Newser) - Playwright and screenwriter Horton Foote, who movingly portrayed the broken dreams of common people in The Trip to Bountiful, Tender Mercies, and his Oscar-winning screen adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird, died today in Connecticut at age 92. Foote's writing career spanned more than half a century and earned him... More »

A Comic Star is Born?

Much to his surprise, Danny McBride finds himself in demand

(Newser) - He didn’t plan it this way, but Danny McBride will end up in three of the summer’s biggest comedies, the LA Times reports. In The Foot Fist Way, Pineapple Express, and Tropic Thunder, viewers will see McBride get beaten, shot, blown up with a grenade, and tortured—all... More »

Clooney, WGA Part Ways Over Disputed Credit

Filmmaker takes reduced role in union after Leatherheads flap

(Newser) - George Clooney has all but severed his ties to the Writers Guild after a dispute over screenwriting credit for the new film Leatherheads, reports Variety. The film's director, co-producer, and star says he overhauled a weak script, but a 2-to-1 arbitration vote went against him. He didn't publicize the move... More »

How Very! Heathers Writer Returns to Film

Sex and Death 101 , out tomorrow, puts Daniel Waters back in left field

(Newser) - Screenwriter Daniel Waters, who made "What's your damage?" part of American slang, is back. His 1989 cult classic, Heathers, paved the way for edgy teen fare from Clueless to Juno, but subsequent unsuccessful projects led him to obscurity. Sex and Death 101 puts him "squarely back into off-kilter... More »

Strike-Idled Screenwriters Get Creative

Cash-strapped scribes pitch novels in place of screenplays

(Newser) - The 12-week-old writers guild strike has brought film and TV production to a grinding halt but has fostered a boom in another area, the LA Times reports: print fiction. "Writers who have ideas but never had the time are turning to their book projects," says the VP of... More »

Word! Fans Cozy Up to Writers on Picket Line

But plot suggestions could pose legal pitfall for scribes

(Newser) - Picket lines are offering a rare opportunity for fans to get in touch with their favorite striking screenwriters. In LA, "Heroes" buffs and aspiring filmmakers are trekking alongside some of the 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America to lend their support, network—or just get an... More »

20 Stories