Tag: Screenplay

Right Side of History Adapted Screenplay Oscars®

Right Side of History Adapted Screenplay Oscars®

Best Adapted Screenplay

BlacKkKlansman wins for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 91st Oscars. The screenplay is adapted from Ron Stallworth’s book BlacKkKlansman.

Film synopsis

Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events. (IMdB)

Writers

Spike Lee is truly thrilled to win this first Oscar® for Best Adapted Screenplay. He states, “My grandma who saved 50 years of Social Security checks to put her first grandchild – she called me Spikie Poo – she put me through Morehouse College and NYU Grad Film. NYU!” This is a long time in coming for Spike Lee. The screenplay writers include David Rabinowitz, Charles Wachtel, and Kevin Willmott.

Willmott states, at Northern Arizona University, “Telling a character’s story you have to fictionalize the stories. Often as a writer, you do that with your own life experiences.” The story does reflect some personal experiences in his life.

Lee concludes the acceptance speech saying, “Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there!”

BlacKkKlansman Fun Facts

The film is one of only four US films to win the Grand Prix at Cannes Film Festival. The film receive a standing ovation at Cannes Film Festival.

John David Washington did not audition for the role. He was offered the role from Spike Lee.

The final scene is edited using hundreds of cell phone camera footage taken in Virginia.

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Photo credit The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Being True ~ Kevin Willmott Screenwriter

Being True ~ Kevin Willmott Screenwriter


Kevin Willmott, Oscar® winner screenwriter, brings his insight into screenwriting adaptation, being true to self, and BlacKkKlansman to the Prochnow Auditorium in Flagstaff AZ.

Kevin Willmott Blakklansman 4chion lifestyle
Kevin Willmott and Tammy Ann

Kevin Willmott Screenwriting

Willmott discusses creating stories that Stallworth tells from Willmott’s own life experience. This is one part of the screenplay he owns. He states, “Telling a character’s story you have to fictionalize the stories. Often as a writer, you do that with your own life experiences.”

His adapting from the book he takes as much as he can from the source. A screenwriters job is to create a movie. Willmott tries to remain as loyal to the book as possible. He tries to connect to the spirit of the story when writing the film. The addition of Flip Zimmerman being Jewish brings the spirit of the film. This adds to the story with the KKK suppressing and victimizing not only African Americans but also others.

Willmott takes a lot of his writing to the awareness of human behavior. The ability to find the darkness in human behavior comes from life experience and observations. His ability to bring the real enemy provides an insight to the audience to think their own human behavior. He states, “we need to remain true to ourselves.”

Kevin Willmott Film Ending

The KKK burning cross scene was the end of the film and brought to the front that there are still issues in our country today. The addition of Charlottesville to the movie is the true events. This moment in history wrote this scene in the film of that day. They had to bring this moment to the completed film. “The characters, President Donald Trump and David Duke, wrote themselves right into the film,” he says. The narrative in this present day event fit with the completed film. The screening of the film completed with a standing ovation. 

Willmott takes time after the film to discuss the screenwriting, production, and how he has fought against racism his entire life.  “America First” is a Nazi slogan from the 1930s used in this country at rallies across the US. “Make America Great Again” is from the 1970s. David Duke started this propaganda on the Donahue show. They did not have to reach to tie the past to the current political rhetoric.  Willmott says, “The past is living in us today right now. It is what is making it a dangerous time.”

Kevin Willmott Twoness

The main theme of the film as well as life in America is twoness. That happens to anyone who has to deal with a majority that does not understand who you are. Willmott explains, “that the film has 2 Ron Stallworths in the film. The real Ron Stallworth faces being black and blue. The other being white and being Jewish. Throughout the film, there is often twoness with Ron Stallworth character and life in America.

Focus Features BLACKkKLANSMAN Los Angeles Premiere, Los Angeles, CA, USA - 8 August 2018
Kevin Willmott, Writer

Kevin Willmott Racism

The language in the film and racism is something that Spike Lee, director, and Willmott decided to not apologize for it, didn’t tone it down, didn’t make it palpable, didn’t make it better than it is, and show it for everything it is. This creates the absurdity that makes the humor and lets the audience deal with uncomfortable feelings.

Harry Belafonte’s scene runs between the KKK initiation scenes. This is a powerful moment in the film that takes me to something I learned as a young child. Not everyone sees the world or people the same. There are times in our life that we are asked to stop and think about our own stance and view. The value of finding your own voice to stand and speaking up is important. Willmott explains, “it is not always easy to do this but you teach those around you that it is wrong.”

Willmott brings a strong statement to the audience when discussing racism. He says, “We would like to believe that they are a different creature than we are. In reality they look like everyday folks like we are.” The ability for the screenwriting to portray this in film brings the darkness of racism.

He greatest message is that we need to understand what I means to be American, our complex history, and living in American. We need to understand more about each other and eliminate the ignorance. 

Kevin Willmott Side Note

David Duke did call Ron Stallworth when the film finished. He asked, “How am I portrayed in the film?” 

This is a film that brings the circle of life in America clearly. We have times in this country where we are good and flowing forward and then step back in time. Traveling the US this past year I often stopped at many locations for Underground Railroad. The feeling standing where thousands risked their lives to be understood by the majority is a true insight into the human spirit. We need to eliminate the ignorance and misgivings by standing true.

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A Woman’s World, The Beguiled ~ Cannes

A Woman’s World, The Beguiled ~ Cannes

The Beguiled Red Carpet Cannes Film Festival
The Beguiled Red Carpet Photo Credit Mathilde Petit FDC Cannes Film Festival

The Beguiled is one of the most anticipated films at Cannes Film Festival. Director, Sofia Coppola, brings the woman’s point of view and how it was for these women during this time period. The original film was from the man’s point of view. This point of view brings a new dynamic to the melodramatic remake.

Film synopsis At a girls’ school in Virginia during the Civil War, where the young women are sheltered from the outside world, a wounded Union soldier is taken in. Soon, the house is taken over with sexual tension, rivalries, and an unexpected turn of events.

The Beguiled Cannes Film Festival 4Chion Lifestyle
The Beguiled Photo Credit FDC Courtesy Cannes Film

This film is a remake of (The Beguiled (1971).  Both films based on the novel The Beguiled by Thomas Cullinan. The first film brings the male perspective of a wounded Union soldier. Coppola brings the story back with the perspective of the women in the boarding school.

The Beguiled Movie 4Chion Lifestyle
The Beguiled Movie Photo Credit FDC Courtesy Cannes Film

The revisiting of The Beguiled creates its own dynamics. Coppola says, “I never tried to remake the film, go back and tell my story. I wanted to forget that and to imagine how I would make this film.” She brings the women’s stories and perspective to the forefront.

Beguiled Cannes Film Festival 4Chion Lifestyle
The Beguiled Photo Credit FDC Courtesy Cannes Film

Coppola discusses the film being a feminist film, she states, “It is up to the audience to determine how they want to take it. I put my thoughts into film and you can determine how it affects you. I was making the film from the female point of view. The core of the story is the power struggle between the male and female.” The story brings this struggle to the center of the film.

Living in a boarding school atmosphere where they are all women who are functioning well, until the new dynamic, Farrell enters the school. Kidman states about Farrell’s character, “I think he comes in an ruins everything. We were fine. We only could not procreate. Good riddance to him.” The dynamic changes for each person in the film.

The Beguiled Cannes Film Festival 4Chion Lifestyle
The Beguiled Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival Photo Credit FDC Courtesy Cannes Film Festival

Kirsten Dunst, plays Edwina Dabney in the film, says “all these people pent up together no matter male, female, or a mixture. There will always be something that comes out it is a survivalist technique. Colin just happens to be what all our aggression, energy, and emotions corseted up, let’s say. They get unleashed because this new dynamic comes in.” This does bring a change for the girls attending the boarding school.

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The Beguiled Nicole Kidman CreditFDC Courtesy Cannes Film Festival

Nicole Kidman recalls Martha Farnsworth, her character in the film, “is very maternal. Kidman states, “She is there to protect these girls in a very treacherous difficult time. Her motivation is to protect them, to guide them, to bring them, so when the war ends they are capable.” Farrell’s character makes it difficult for the continued protection.

Colin Farrell, John McBurney character in the film, states “It has been a journeyman to get here. Many miles of roads and many corsets. It was an amazing experience shooting this film. Coppola sets a particular mood, one that is of comfort, of ease, trust, and an environment that allows you as an actor to explore and play. It was my favorite experience and shoot. Sophia is a creative beast of an engine with tenderness, elegance, and a gentility.”  Looking forward to this film? It will be in theaters June 20, 2017.

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The Beguiled Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival Credit FDC Courtesy Cannes Film Festival

Just a few fun notes from the press conference Kidman and Coppola often swiped their hair from the left side of their faces at the same time. Kidman discusses working through mistakes, “I try to focus on the positive. Sometimes you fail and sometimes you succeed.  That is the journey. You just get back up. . . You fall over you brush off your knees and get back up. It is a really really hard thing to do. You cry and you feel. It is not saying don’t feel, but experience it navigates and get move through it. . . I’ll learn from everything.”

This 70th year will continue to evolve film worldwide. Stay tuned here for coverage of events from fashion, red carpet, actresses/actors, and films.

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Cast and Crew

Colin FARRELL – McBurney

Nicole KIDMAN – Miss Martha

Kirsten DUNST – Edwina

Elle FANNING – Alicia

Oona LAURENCE – Amy

Angourie RICE – Jane

Addison RIECKE – Marie

Emma HOWARD – Emily

Sofia COPPOLA – Director

Sofia COPPOLA – Script / Dialogue

Philippe LE SOURD – Director of Photography

Sarah FLACK – Film Editor

(Groupe) PHOENIX – Music

Anne ROSS – Set decorator

Photo Credit Photo Credit FDC Courtesy Cannes Film