In The Nines, was there a particular reason you chose to make Dahlia and Gavin’s birthday the same, November 21st?
If you look through the screenplay of The Nines in the Library, you’ll see that many scenes in the second section of the movie are basically unscripted.
Here’s that scene as written (italics in original):
INT. SUSINA COFFEESHOP – DAY
Gavin meets with Dahlia Salem. She’s pretty, funny, and very cool.
They talk about the other pilot (Gatin’s), the role, and how fucked up it is to be having these double-top-secret conversations. It goes well. They seem to genuinely like each other.
When filming these scenes, I was beside the camera as it was rolling, telling the actors what to talk about. I told Dahlia that she and Gavin had the same birthday, and she went with it. (In fact, she misunderstood at first, and assumed that she and Ryan Reynolds had the same birthday.) Ultimately, it didn’t really matter what they were talking about, just that they were talking and seemed to click.
All of Part Two was shot essentially this way. Even in scenes with traditional dialogue, I would “wind the clock back” a minute and have the actors talking about something else, eventually getting to the text of the scene.
The conceit of this section is that it’s a half hour episode of a reality TV show, so I needed lots of little pieces to suggest the conversations have been stitched together in editing. Non-scene conversation got the right rhythms goings.
Part Two was the last section we shot, and by far the most fun. It was like real-time writing. A lot of things that came up in the moment could easily be incorporated; I’d say something, then have Ryan say it. Melissa McCarthy talks about buying a house because just that day she bought a house.
The Nines was a very special case, and the only time I’ve done it. I wouldn’t suggest trying such non-writing in your own scripts unless there’s a particularly good reason for it.