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Transformers Movie, recruits Writer's

Posted by:
Anonymous at 2006-11-22 10:01 am
All signs point to Transformers (live) Movie being one very successful film.  Big budget, backed by industry leaders in special effects, production and directing... Now too it seems we can add writing to the list.  The following article in the LA Times, describes a meeting of writer's "Dream Team" used to squeeze as much entertainment value into every possible moment.  You have to 'register' to view the complete article, but if you'd prefer to avoid that I'm reposting as much text as I can below.  Could I be any more excited to see this film?  No, I just don't think so...  Enjoy the read and happy turkey day to every on in the 'States.

In a rare round table, 'Transformers' writers invite a dream team to give creative input.
By Jay A. Fernandez, Special to The Times
November 22, 2006

When a round table of screenwriters assembled at the swanky Viceroy hotel in Santa Monica back in May to look over the "Transformers" screenplay, it may not have had the solemn purpose of King Arthur's knightly conferences nor the savage wit of Dorothy Parker's vicious circle, but it did portend something significant.

While bringing in a group of writers to brainstorm on a project is relatively common in television and feature comedies and animated films, especially early in the development process, big studio action movies like this one — born of the original mid-'80s television cartoon series — rarely get this kind of treatment. More often than not, these are precisely the projects that end up pitting screenwriters against one another for credit in Writers Guild arbitrations after they've been cycled through by producers intent on having them rewrite each other.

In this context, the "Transformers" round table's most remarkable aspect is that the gathering was organized not by DreamWorks but by the film's hired screenwriters: Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci ("The Legend of Zorro," "Mission: Impossible III"). A few weeks before production started on the Michael Bay-directed sci-fi blockbuster about a war between dueling machine races on Earth (due in theaters next Independence Day), Kurtzman and Orci compiled a wish list of writers they admire who also happen to be fans of the Transformers brand. Their mission was to look over Kurtzman and Orci's latest draft — the last before shooting would begin — and punch it up one final time.

Kurtzman and Orci's dream team included David Ayer ("Training Day," "Harsh Times"), Rawson Marshall Thurber ("Dodgeball"), stand-up comedian Patton Oswalt ("MADtv"), Jon Hurwitz ("Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle"), Lona Williams ("Drop Dead Gorgeous"), Jeff Nathanson ("Catch Me If You Can") and Don D. Scott ("Barbershop"). While all of the screenplay's major elements — structure, plot, characters — were locked down, these writers were asked to double check its logic and help squeeze whatever additional humor they could from potentially comedic moments.

Since the movie is meant to be a huge, supercool, PG-13, CGI-gasm of a movie, "fun" was the operating principle. With that in mind, at the start of the four-hour session Bay himself introduced the visiting writers to the material with some preliminary computer mock-ups of scenes that apparently got everyone fired up before going through the script from Page 1.

The filmmakers had already consulted in depth with the Army and Air Force, but Ayer, who was a sonar technician on a nuclear submarine in the Navy, brought some ground-level detail to the military aspects of the story. Nathanson, known for his deadpan straight shooting, was apparently on hand to be the in-house critic. And the rest were asked to enhance the setups and dialogue between the human characters and the giant talking machines.

Kurtzman and Orci have worked with Bay before...

...In this case, all invited writers signed a waiver that established they would get a standard $2,500 consulting fee and give up any claim to ownership of any ideas that make it into the film. Oh, and they'd get a catered lunch...

Knightwing said,  - 2006-11-22 21:48:31
The more I hear about this movie, the more it sounds fantastic!
blastcat said,  - 2006-11-25 16:55:46
amazing! simply can't wait until next year!
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