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Sunday, July 17, 2005

We watched Seven or as I like to think of it, Happy Happy Joy Joy.

See, now, this is an example of how scripts will out. The story is that Andrew Kevin Walker, then working at Tower Records in New York, sent the script not to an agent but to a writer: David Koepp. (Actually to his assistant, who then got Koepp to read it. Always be supernice to assistants.) Koepp read it and called back to say that yes, he was going to send it on to his agent, and would Walker please get psychiatric help.

I wonder what the Project Greenlight people would have thought of it. But then, the movie couldn't be done for a million bucks. Too much special effects makeup.

The movie is interesting for the rules it breaks. (Great movies are often more interesting for the rules they break than for the ones they follow.) The cops accomplish almost nothing. They successfully decode the messages the serial killer intended for them to decode. The one break they get is a massive plothole: they find the guy by his library card, based on the books he would have read. As if for every serial killer reading Thomas Aquinas and Dante, there aren't ten English grad students and five thousand goths. As if the guy wouldn't actually own those books. But it's not really about the investigation, is it? It's about the cops and how they react to the horror they confront as cops. It's not really a mystery story. The killer turns himself in, for heaven's sake. It's a drama.

There's some interesting stuff about Andrew Kevin Walker and his reaction to the rewrites on 8mm here.

6 Comments:

Thanks, great article on Walker.

JDC

By Blogger John Donald Carlucci, at 12:01 AM  

i have the book with both screenplays. had it been up to the producers, we would never have had the ending of Seven -- they wanted to kill the dog instead! it was brad pitt who insisted... and it's funny, because the first time i saw it i thought his performance was too crude opposite morgan freeman. but he was just reading the lines as written.

By Blogger miklos rosza, at 3:13 AM  

Great post, thanks. I never knew that's how he got an agent, and I never would have thought of sending a script to another writer in order to get a referral. I'll be sure to credit your blog when writers are cussing me out next week...

(hee)

By Blogger Kristen, at 11:50 AM  

You did it now Alex. I'm speed dialing AKW's agent as I write this. Ha ha....

Seriously, I found Sevento be a real breakthrough film in a lot of ways. Fincher getting Pitt and Freeman to commit was a major coup. Bankable stars made this extremely dark material a little easier to get off the ground.

Thanks.

By Blogger William, at 1:23 PM  

According to the audio commentary, the script went through massive development. Eleven rewrites, if memory serves, which turned it into a more by-the-numbers cop film. It was Fincher who insisted on going back to Walker's original draft.

Fincher claims he was sent this draft "accidently". Obviously, some people at the studio preferred Walker's draft as well.

By Blogger Robot Porter, at 7:44 PM  

I actually went back to watch the film after this posting, the DVD is great. Fincher's DVD's are always fully loaded and very informative about the process. He's obviously a director that digs process.

The one break they get is a massive pothole: they find the guy by his library card, based on the books he would have read. As if for every serial killer reading Thomas Aquinas and Dante, there aren't ten English grad students and five thousand goths. As if the guy wouldn't actually own those books.

I don't necessarily agree. The scene where he finger prints "help me" at one of the crime scenes is a cry out for help or maybe a way to taunt the police. I think leaving a trail of his study habits by way of a library card is doing the same. He essentially wants to get caught and does. It's part of his plan, to fulfill his destiny of the seven sins and make Mills part of that grand design. That's why it does work as a plant that later comes to fruition by way of the card.

What do you think?

By Blogger William, at 9:29 PM  

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