So I’m almost finished writing the first draft of the Syrup screenplay. I did mention I was working on that, right? No? Oh. That’s weird. I thought I did. Maybe you just forgot I told you. Yeah, I bet that’s it.
Actually what happened is I was waiting until there was a signed deal before I announced it—since until there’s a bit of paper, there’s always the chance that an agreement will fall apart. But that took so long to get finalized that I just started writing. Now I have 90% of a first draft, and the bit of paper is on its way from Fortress to me.
Working on the script has been an amazing experience. I wrote Syrup (the novel) in 1997, and eight years later I get to go back and fix the parts I wish I’d done differently. I still feel very close to the two main characters, Scat and 6, and I love being able to play with them again. Then there’s the challenge of deciding which parts of the story should make it to the screen and which should be left on paper. I’ve never had to confront that before, and it’s been fascinating.
I also have a hard deadline, in the shape of Jen’s ballooning belly. Once those contractions hit I don’t expect to touch a keyboard for a couple of weeks, so my draft had better be finished by then. I’ve been working pretty intensely for a while now, which is probably why these blogs have been a little less frequent than usual. (You noticed, right? Come on.)
I wish I could post some of my script here, because, well, I’m damn excited about it. But I’m not allowed to. So I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it: it’s going really well, and I’m loving it.
It’s a good-news-bad-news kind of situation, except the good news is all for me and the bad news is all for you. That’s the best kind of good-news-bad-news, so long as you’re me. Which I am. So that’s great.
Here’s the good news. I got this e-mail from Fortress:
I am trying to talk to Siberell about hiring you. We want to give you a shot and want to make sure that Brian is open to making a creative deal.
Brian Siberell is my film agent. So I’m pretty sure this translates as: “Dear Max, Without wanting to invite you to pull down our pants and steal our wallets, we intend to hire you to write the Syrup screenplay.”
My reaction is: “Ohhhhhhh yeah!” I am so fired up to write this thing, I tell you. And now I don’t have to fly to L.A. and kneecap anybody.
The bad news is the sample script I posted on this site, then pulled down at Fortress’s request, is going to stay down. Sorry if you would have liked a look at that. But the idea now is not to expose my naked raw drafts to the world, but to keep things under wraps until I have a script that’s cool and polished and gleaming with edgy goodness. (Which it so will. Hot damn!)
But first, an update on the Syrup film situation. Here’s where we’re at: Fortress liked my draft script, but wanted to hear more about my vision for the last two thirds of the film. I said, “That sounds a bit like you want me to sketch out the whole screenplay for no money,” and they said, “Well…” and proceeded to flatter me until I agreed to do it. So right now I’m putting the finishing touches on a draft structure for the film, on the understanding that they’ll then decide (Donald Trump-style) whether I’m hired or not. If they turn me down, we have agreed that I get to fly over to LA and beat them to death.
But back to the headline story: finally, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston are splitting up! I was thrilled to hear this, because finally that bit in Syrup where Cindy’s goal is to marry Brad Pitt will make sense again. This has been bugging me for years, and I’m really glad Brad (or I guess it was Jen) had the decency to make things right.
Maybe everyone knew this already, but I just found out that those two originally met on a blind date. I tell you what, if a friend sets you up on a blind date with Brad Pitt or Jennifer Anniston, you’d be fairly happy, wouldn’t you? I keep hearing these dating horror stories; how come nobody ever tells the ones where their blind date turned out to be one of the most desirable human beings on the planet?
Which, I reckon, was Brad and Jennifer’s problem. I mean, imagine you’re Brad Pitt. Okay, I’ll give you a few moments. Now imagine waking up one morning, perhaps after a particularly big night, and wandering to the bathroom. You’re halfway there and you realize that Jen is looking at you from the bed. You’re standing there, your hair all flat and stupid-looking, your eyes bloodshot, caught in the middle of scratching yourself in that place where men scratch when nobody’s around, and you can totally read Jen’s expression. It’s: “So this is the world’s sexiest man.”