Where Have the Scriptwriters Gone?

The breakfast dishes are being put away and as the iPod shuffles in its deck I check for emails, browse Facebook and have a quick look at the BBC news. I’m wandering around the internet, not going anywhere in particular when I come across a website  that lists 50 films that are earmarked for a remake. One of these films being, A Star is Born. Many people think that the Garland/Mason version was the original, when in fact this was also a remake. The Streisand/Kristofferson remake followed, bringing it up to date musically and now; allegedly Beyoncé will star opposite Tom Cruise: an actor who in my opinion is as short on talent as he is in inches, in another remake. Now I didn’t start todays blog with the intention of letting you know how low an opinion I have of Mr Cruise’s acting ability, you can see how dreadful he is for yourself, just watch Eyes Wide Shut.

Other films in the list include, Dirty Dancing, The Bodyguard and even Robocop. There’s also plans to remake the dreadful Pointbreak, which was so awful the first time around, mostly due to the awful script, that it beggars belief why anyone would want to remake it.

Why is Hollywood fascinated with remaking or as is often the case re-hashing older films, is it laziness or a fear of trying something new? I’m afraid I don’t have the answer to my question, so I can only make an assumption. In the current economic climate perhaps producers are afraid to go out on a limb and try something new, opting for the remake that is guaranteed to bring in the viewing public, even if it’s only out of curiosity.

Where have all the scriptwriters gone? Are there no people hunched over keyboards tapping away, creating dialogue to fill the mouths of actors? Is scriptwriting a dying art form? The answer is simple, they’re still there creating plots and sub-plots and fashioning characters for the likes of Clooney and Jolie. Sadly the suits that make the decisions aren’t interested. Remember this is only an assumption and my opinion, but I think they’re too scared to back many new projects. Therefore I don’t believe it’s due to a lack of writing, as the movie industry is inundated daily with scripts, from both published and unpublished scriptwriters, all hoping theirs will be a potential box office draw.

I understand the current trend in turning films into live shows, Dirty Dancing, being one that has made the successful transition from screen to stage. The story has to alter for this to happen, scenes have to be rewritten, cuts have to be made and even new material has to be added to accommodate the theatre setting. This makes me wonder if I’m alone in thinking that to blindly remake a film, piece by piece and scene by scene for a movie going audience is a waste of money and more importantly talent. Can anyone really expect anyone to make a better job of Rachel Marron than Whitney Houston and I for one don’t really want to hear anyone else but Patrick Swayzee say, Nobody puts baby in a corner. I would much prefer that producers and directors gave new work the chance to see the light of day. Of course in doing this, there’ll no doubt be some truly dreadful films made, but there will also be some magnificent ones too. The only problem I can see with this is that eventually those magnificent ones will end up succumbing to the remake.


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1 Response to Where Have the Scriptwriters Gone?

  1. Jem Shaw says:

    Part of the malaise, in Britain at least, lies at the door of the commissioners. One major BBC drama series pays its scriptwriters by waggling a knife in the slot of a collecting tin while employing 27 “producers” to expunge what infinitesimal fragment of quality they achieve. Who’d have thought we’d be relying on America to give us quality with masterpieces like The Newsroom?

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