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Simon Monjack had nothing to do with 'Factory Girl.' He filed a frivolous lawsuit against us... making bogus claims that we had stolen his script. He held us literally to hostage and we were forced to settle with him as he held our production over a barrel.
I know that I wouldn't mind going back to work if I could find the right script and the right crew to work with.
If it's an excellent script, I enjoy it tremendously, the acting part of it.
But my family's really close and I was interested in what Mommy and Daddy did for a living. So when Mommy and Daddy had a script that wasn't totally age inappropriate, they would let me read it. And we would talk about it.
While I don't script and I don't use other performers, I think my taste for underlying precision gives me something in common with Allan and George Brecht.
Frankly, as much as I love to improvise, it hasn't been difficult to stick to the script on 'Mad Men.' The writing is so precise, and the story so carefully crafted, that I don't think there's room - or need - for ad libbing. I could never come up with dialogue as lovely as these writers do, anyway.
My first book, about Ruby Ridge, was made into a miniseries on CBS in 1996, and since then, I've dabbled in Hollywood, pitched a few things, sold a couple of screenplays and a pilot that I wrote with a buddy from Spokane, flirted with seeing 'Citizen Vince' as a film, and most recently, adapted 'The Financial Lives of the Poets' as a script.
What's frustrating to me is when, on a low-budget movie, people don't take chances. A big-budget movie, that script's your bible; nobody's going to risk going off the page. But when you're doing a very low-budget film, why not take some chances, intellectually, artistically?
I'd rather say no and have said no and do say no often. I walk away from projects if it doesn't feel right; if it's not the right team of people pulling in together or if the script isn't right. It could be a great idea but the script doesn't work.
I always write the script by myself.
In America, everyone writes but no one reads. Everyone's writing all day long - sending emails, tweets, text messages; they all think they're James Cameron's Avatar, performing in some video game for which they make up the script.
Basically, the actor's job is to pay attention to the script.
You need the words, you need the script, you need the material, you need the commitment, you need the passion, it's like we depend on writers, we depend on producers, directors depend on us and once things are in the divine order as they happen.
I mean when I was working shall we say with Disney, you know they sent me the script for the film Hercules and I had to imagine what all the characters looked like. And to develop those characters, so nothing exists visually when I get the script.
I think I read films having grown up around the pre-production and post-production aspect of the filmmaking medium, a lot more than most young people who are in acting would have experienced. I do think about scripts in a different way. I can't just read a script as an actor. I don't know how to do that.
Originality is, for me, the most important quality in a script.
The thing about the movie 'Navy SEALs' is that it was just such a waste. The script could've been shaped to be much better, and you just hate to see all that talent and passion go to waste.
I wasn't involved, except to the degree that they sent me drafts of the script as the writer turned them in. They asked me at one point to write a memo about what I thought of it.
What's going to be hard for me is to try to divorce myself as much as possible from what I wrote. I'll have to approach it simply as raw material and try to craft a film script out of it.
We thought we'd write a good script for women, giving them the fun roles that generally men get.
I think a lot of playwrights have a script in their bottom drawer that hopefully no one will ever see about a bunch of young people sharing a flat and getting up to crazy stuff.
Fozzie Bear has so many bear puns in this script - like, 'Trac is grizzly!' 'This is unbearable!' It's the greatest.
If I get a note on my script or my films, what I say to a studio executive is that, 'You know, this is the film of my legacy, and I never want to be sitting in a theater looking up on the screen and seeing something that I don't believe in.' I will never do that.
It was also wonderful to have the prospect of playing with Jack Nicholson. It was a terrific part, a terrific script, with Alexander Payne and Jack Nicholson. You can't get any better than that!
When I was sent the script for 'Homeland,' I didn't think anything of it. Three months later, my manager rang and said: 'They are interested in you.' I read it and I realised, 'Yes, I do want this.' Then I got an email saying I'd got it.
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