Friday, December 4, 2009

The Sad Truth

This story has been making the rounds on the internet for about the past week, and really it is just old news, but I find it a touch saddening either way.

In a recent interview with (my favorite film website by the way) actor Jeff Bridges, who played the villain in the first Iron Man film, said that Iron Man had no script when it went into production. As Bridges put it, "We would show up for big scenes every day and we wouldn't know what we were going to say."

Essentially the cast and crew were just making it up as they went along, the writers were writing new scenes while they were shooting the scene that they were currently writing, and many times the actors had to improvise dialogue in order to finish the scene. My screenwriting professor talked on this yesterday in class. His best friend is a storyboard artist for the Iron Man films, and he managed to corroborate this story in an e-mail to my professor telling him that Jeff Bridge's statements were entirely true. Of course, it all came together in the end to make what I believe to be one of the finer superhero movies of the past decade, but is this an unorthodox practice in Hollywood?

The sad truth is, no. Countless movies, in particular big budget blockbusters such as this, are made this way. Put into production before there is really any script, outline, or vague story in place. As a screenwriter this makes me sad, making me just realize that even if I manage to write a terrific script, there are gonna be people out there making movies from no scripts whatsoever and still getting a ton of love and adoration for it.

To me, if all big blockbusters are made this way, it might explain why they don't garner much respect from the filmmaking community. Of course, I look at cases like Iron Man and the original Jaws (another movie shot without a script), and I realize that perhaps this method of filmmaking might not be foolhardy, but the vast majority of films made this way go against those rare examples.

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