No Meaner Place has a lengthy conversation with Howard Rodman about August, his original screenplay that became the Josh Hartnett tech-startup indie.
Even if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s worth reading the interview for a frank discussion about the process of working with a director. Says Rodman:
It’s not the job of a filmmaker to make the film that the screenwriter envisioned. That would be pouring amber over a literary document, not making a movie. (Similarly, when I’m adapting a book, it’s not my lookout, nor should it be, to worry first and foremost about the film version that the novelist sees in his/her head…) So, no, what was up on the screen wasn’t what I’d imagined – but there were moments that were far better than what I’d imagined, like some of the gestures and lines that Adam Scott found in his portrayal of Joshua – sweet and sly and complex and smart.
Earlier this week, I answered a question from a writer concerned that his director wanted to do her own pass on the script, and that’s exactly what happened here.
It’s easy to run what-if scenarios in which a different combination of director and actor would give a better outcome, but it’s important to remember how little control a screenwriter ultimately has over the variables.