Film Courage: Gary, what’s the greatest script you’ve ever read and what happened to that script?
Gary W. Goldstein: Wow…You know, I’ve read a lot of what I would consider…I’ve been blessed to read a lot of great scripts. And some of them never got made, fortunately many have. I remember reading the MILLION DOLLAR HOTEL by a friend of mine (Nicholas Klein) and I was so endlessly in love with that script. And I wanted him to direct (he had never directed). It ended up being directed by Wim Wenders and (in my estimation) it didn’t have the poetry that was Nicholas that was infused in it because of who he was. No disrespect to Wim Wenders. He’s a lauded filmmaker of course. But in that case, it kind of went one direction.
PRETTY WOMAN before it was PRETTY WOMAN (3000) by J. F. Lawton was certainly at that time the best script I’d ever held in my hands. And it was a dark drama of course but it was absolutely riveting, compelling, in a sort of tragic sense. And of course as we know that film did get made, only it got…ironically the film got made so true to its original form, but just the structure and the characters and the dialogue was so taught that we didn’t have to labor to turn it tonally. And of course, we had Garry Marshall, so he could improv anything. He filmed it as it was and then he did a little improv and we found that sort of comedy in it.
So that got made, again…in a totally different direction. Originally it was going to be a dark independent, few-million-dollar-film. So you never know? These things always take left turns.
But there have been a lot of great scripts that sadly didn’t get made. I remember there was a little film called THE CURE that I was madly in love with. A very special small script, young characters. And I had actually shared that with Steven Spielberg and his people flipped out. And then Steven fell in love with it and we were cranking up the offer from Universal and Warner Brothers simultaneously. The agent actually sold the script overnight to a third party and it got made years later as a low-budget, kind of non-event. That was the biggest heartbreak personally for me.
But you never know. There are scripts today that probably still haven’t been made that will get made that I think are amazing. There’s no predicting this business.
Film Courage: So what was it about that script where you said was eventually sold to a third-party? I mean what was it that just really resonated with you? Was it a personal thing that you felt a connection to? Or the way it was written, the voice of the protagonist?
Gary W. Goldstein: What was so remarkable about it was there are characters and stories that are so gorgeous because of their truth, because they call to us, they penetrate us in a way that is undeniable. That all of us have had that experience growing up. And this [script] was about growing up…young characters. And anyone who has blood flowing through their veins would have recognized some part of themselves or their friends in that story in a very poignant context. Because it was so universal and so sweetly done, it wasn’t a sweet picture, it was a challenging story. But what was sweet about it was the attention to detail, the truth of how it played out.
Question for the Viewers: What’s the best script you have ever read?
CHECK OUT GARY’S BOOK!
Writer’s Guide To Hollywood