A recent article about why movies are no longer stressing sparkling dialogue. In light of my tips on writing dialogue it’s rather timely.
The article’s author, Pamela Hutchinson, contends studios today are primarily interested in a movie’s global appeal. Less dialogue is easier to translate. Forget Millennials – what do Chinese and Indian date-nighters want to see?
Ms. Hutchinson points out some startling facts. In the latest BOURNE movie, Matt Damon has only 45 lines. In ONLY GOD FORGIVES (a movie I already forgot existed), Ryan Gosling speaks just 19. And Tom Hardy has only 52 lines in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD. There’s probably more dialogue in the first three minutes of STEVE JOBS than all three of those movies put together.
The government approved it.
The thing is, even in action movies, a well-placed zinger or speech can really enhance a film’s popularity. Dialogue matters. I think it’s one of the reasons Marvel movies shine over DC franchise films. Marvel gets it. (By the way, I wonder how DEADPOOL did worldwide? Lots of delicious dialogue in that. My guess is it didn’t suffer internationally. As long as there’s enough action and Morena Baccarin scantily dressed audiences will lay down their Rubles or Yen or whatever.)
Author Hutchinson also maintains that when dialogue loses its sparkle the film falls flat. I would agree. But of course, studios don’t give a shit. As long as the movie makes money they’re happy.
There’s an economic component to this too. Not many screenwriters are capable of writing sparkling dialogue. So they tend to be expensive. But why pay for an A-list writer when a C-lister can bang out 35 lines of “Take this you asshole!” for Guild minimum?
This to me is another reason why good writers, actors, and audiences are flocking to television. The juicy parts and complex storylines are now on the small screen. And good riddance to Hollywood when they spend $400 million on an action film that bombs. To quote a certain line of movie dialogue: