Lessons from Ronald Harwood

"The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", screenplay by Ronald Harwood
from the book by Jean-Dominique Bauby.
Directed by Julian Schnabel.

Another fascination conversation from the Creative Screenwriting Magazine podcast series conducted by Jeff Goldsmith:

It was Harwood who came up with the first person subjective for the film. The decision that the camera is the protagonist jump-started the writing process. Harwood has the highest praise for the work of Janusz Kaminski, whom he calls brilliant.

It is interesting to hear that when starting a process of adaptation he spends a lot of time figuring out what the story is going to be about. That means further selecting the thematic scope of the material given to him. The choice is his own decision. Harwood is a strong believer in allowing a writer to discover where the story wants to go. He is against the internal and the external pressures resulting from outlining or pitching prior to writing.

Of course upon turning in a draft, Harwood closely works with the director. On “The Pianist” it was a 5 weeks long daily intense collaboration with Polanski. When Jeff Godsmith asks him what he learned from Polanski, he responds with one word: precision.

Also there is a really funny and telling bit about the post “and the Oscar for the best adapted screenplay goes to” conversation with his agent, the famed Jeff Berg. Harwood says that when, the day after, Harwood announced his total lack of interest in directing, Berg’s face immediately became 25 years younger.

No comments:

Post a Comment