(White, Male) Screenwriters Speak in Tales From the Script


Not surprisingly for a documentary on the trials, tribulations, and occasional triumphs of being a Hollywood screenwriter, Tales From the Script is full of wry one-liners, well-spun anecdotes, and pithy observations on the movie-making industry. Guinevere Turner pulls off all of the above in a hilarious tale of working with the infamous Uwe Boll. But director Peter Hanson doesn’t really push his numerous talking heads (including William Goldman, Allison Anders, John Carpenter, Antwone Fisher) beyond soft confirmation of what is already well known: The writer is treated worse than a red-headed stepchild; the film industry is largely run by bean-counting philistines; the disintegrating state of the industry makes the writer’s life even more precarious. Shot in the most basic point-and-shoot style, the amiable Tales breaks up its parade of interviews with film clips (Get Shorty, Barton Fink, The Muse) that illustrate Hollywood’s ability to issue self-critiques that are paradoxically withering and self-aggrandizing. But one of Tales‘ strongest points is made accidentally: Its huge cast of interviewees consists of one Asian speaker, one Latino, three African-Americans, and five women—one of whom pulls double-duty as a woman of color.

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