Battlefield Earth Screenwriter Explains What Happened by Corey Mandell

Film Courage: In our 2017 interview Corey we touched on the movie BATTLEFIELD EARTH. Maybe we can talk about it again? I believe you are one of the co-writers on the movie?

Corey Mandell, Screenwriter/Instructor: Yes.

Film Courage: Can you explain what happened and also help to explain to other screenwriters possibly what could happen to them?

Corey: Sure. Thanks for bringing that up.

Film Courage: Sure, I’m here to open old wounds.

Corey: I’ll walk you through sort of what happened and how it happened. But then with your permission I want to back up and sort of talk about a more important aspect to it.

What happened was I felt like I was so unlucky out of the gate…well no…I felt incredibly fortunate. I sold this pitch, Ridley Scott was going to make it (he almost made it) and there was all this crazy stuff with German investments, studio politics, just all this stuff. It had nothing to do with me or the script, it just didn’t get made.

Two projects later I have a director of green lit movie (studio green lit movie) director in Africa scouting locations. And then the head of the studio lost his job. The new person came in and shut down all of the projects that the previous person had green lit. So that now was dead. And I could go on.

I had five projects in the first five years that were green lit but didn’t get made and so I just thought God hates me and I’m the unluckiest person in the world and then I met more and more writers who had the exact same stories and I realized Oh, it’s not that God hates me. God hates writers. And it’s just this is the nature of the beast.

The last time I’d written a script that almost got made, but the star backed out. And it’s just so clear you need a star to get it over the finish line…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).


Check out the book Mindset (which Corey refers to in many of his Film Courage videos)





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SAWGRASS on Youtube by Jack Peterson. Jack is an American filmmaker based in Chicago. He’s been featured in the New York Times, the Daily Beast, and ABC News for his work as an activist. His first feature film, Sawgrass, is a psychedelic journey through Florida, featuring an extensive interview with the brother of the Las Vegas shooter. Sawgrass also features a performance by the Rock-afire Explosion, a vintage animatronic band created by famed inventor Aaron Fechter. Jack’s next feature film, My Perfect Everything, tells the story of a magician chasing an imaginary woman he met in 1989. My Perfect Everything is currently in the early stages of pre-production.