When did you begin writing the screenplay for the film?
I started it as a short script around the end of 2010, I think. It’s a bit hard to remember at this point. The idea of “Emmageddon” was floating around quite a bit earlier though, in a sketch comedy show I wrote and directed.
What was your initial thought process and inspiration?
A long time ago, I took a Screenwriting 100 class at Santa Monica College. The cost was $11 per unit, which is hard to beat. On the last day of class, the teacher invited us to join a screenwriting group he hosted at his office/run-down apartment near campus. I went, and I ended up being in a screenwriting group for the next decade or so. Occasionally, someone would bring in a script where the protagonist was transparently a hyper-idealized avatar of the author. None of us had heard the term “Mary Sue” at this point, but when I did hear it, I understood instantly.
My writing process was the same as it always is– I sat down (in a gelato shop in Silver Lake) and wrote a script, and then I kept revising it until I didn’t hate it anymore. It’s nice to think you can choose what you want to write about, but in a certain way it chooses you.
Quote at the beginning of the film—“But I’ll tell you something: I think you’re magicians because you’re unhappy. A magician is strong because he feels pain. He feels the difference between what the world is and what he would make of it. “
Who would you say is the magician in the story if there was one, or do you feel as though you are a magician as a filmmaker in a sense?
Ha ha ha. I really really don’t want to call myself a magician in print, or blog, or whatever.
The epigraph of the script is from the book “The Magicians” by Lev Grossman, which is the only book on which I have ever considered getting a tattoo based. There’s actually a TV adaptation premiering on SyFy soon.
If I ever become a big-shot, directing a movie adaptation is one of my dream projects. [LINK: http://ryanmmoore.com/2011/07/22/my-dream-project-if-youre-scoring-at-home/
] I’d also just like to say I met Mr. Grossman once at a book signing and asked him a ridiculous, Comic-Book-Guy-esque question about the politics of his fantasy-world-within-a-fantasy-world, Fillory, and he answered me seriously and was very nice about it.
Anyway, the whole series (there are three books) is, among many other things, a metaphor for creativity. Magicians “feel the difference between what the world is and what [they] would make of it,” and so do artists. So, I guess everyone is the magician, because everyone feels that way, right? Everyone in this movie does, anyway.