James Manos at Banff, Part Two - Complications Ensue
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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Manos got to write DEXTER because he was one of a few lucky writers asked to read the underlying book, DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER, and give Showtime his “take.” He’d never adapted someone else’s material before – and he swears he never will again. But he thinks he was the writer the network wanted in the first place, because he’d written black comedy called “The Slow and Complete Decompensation of Jim Manos” which was about a writer named James Manos and his terrible marriage. (Moral: write something close to your heart, and even if it doesn’t get made, it may get you the job. Lisa has a strangely compelling pilot about growing up in California in the 70’s. Hard to set up, particularly in Canada, but close to her heart.)

His questions were: how do you give a serial killer series legs? How do you make it not predictable? He was interested in Dexter’s efforts to try to be a “real boy” – the Pinocchio story if you will. He liked Dexter’s relationship with his stepfather, who knew he was a psychopath but chose not to separate him from the world. He “taught his kid how to live with the way he’s broken.” Manos calls that “a Christian act,” even if he was teaching his son how to get away with murder:
Because who wouldn’t kill a pedophile, a rapist, a murder? Because I do believe in violence. Look at IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Jimmy Stewart is pissed off throughout the movie. He can’t do what he wants to do. And Jesus was angry. Anger initiates some very positive things. I have a friend who’s a Buddhist, and I told him: name me a Buddhist who’s invented something.

Anger is a great fuel for writing scripts. If you can tap into that, it will give you something to write about.

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So this is what you were working on during the sessions at Banff! Very helpful to those of us who don't take notes like you do. Many thanks. Joanne

By Blogger Joanne, at 3:31 PM  

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