Thursday, March 01, 2018

Why I hate Robert Redford

It’s not enough he was a great looking guy, a huge movie star, and an Oscar-winning director? Now he also has to take credit for writing the screenplay of ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN?

Fuck him.

The screenplay is credited to William Goldman. For those not familiar, he wrote BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID (the film that actually launched Redford’s starring career), THE PRINCESS BRIDE, MARATHON MAN, and many others. He’s also written a ton of brilliant books, both fiction and non-fiction. His book about the movie industry, ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE is still the definitive read on the subject. Suffice it to say, the man is a GIANT. He’s my screenwriting idol.

Goldman took on the near impossible task of taking the book of ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN with its complicated cast of players, and tangled-web of deceits and cover ups and somehow turned it into a cohesive dramatic structure that fit within the time limits of a movie. And he miraculously made it compelling even when everyone in the world already knew the ending. 

He did draft after draft, before and during the filming. Ultimately he won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. And yet he still wishes he hadn’t bothered with this assignment. To win an Oscar and still regret taking the project speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

Redford, in his biography and a Vanity Fair article claims that HE along with director Alan J. Pakula booked a room in a hotel and spent a month rewriting Goldman’s “disastrous” screenplay.

Fuck him.

Journalist Richard Stayton, in an article for Written By Magazine (put out by the WGA), investigated this claim. He managed to secure practically every draft. It was an exhaustive process. Ultimately, he concludes that William Goldman, not Robert Redford wrote ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN. To quote him:

Writers write, and actors – for the most part – speak their lines. After reading Goldman’s script, that distinction seems both clear and indisputable.

So again, fuck you, Robert Redford.

Anyone in a position of power who uses it to take credit for someone else's work is a scumbag in my book. That Redford would deny credit to a man who did a near-impossible job of turning a long complex piece of nonfiction into a riveting motion picture (not to mention that this man was a key figure in your career) is reprehensible. Is your ego that big? Is your need for praise that great? Is your disregard for others that enormous?

This is why I hate him. And this is why I say once more, but in capital letters this time:

FUCK YOU, ROBERT REDFORD.

63 comments :

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Cue the FRIENDS episode in which Joey claims credit for writing his own lines on DAYS OF OUR LIVES, and a dangling-cigarette writer promptly drops his character down an elevator shaft.

Still: it's possible that Redford's memory is playing some tricks on him.

wg

Annie C said...

Thank you Ken. It may be cliche to say that the writers are unsung heroes, but it's cliche because it's true.

Brush a writer off at your peril.

Thank you.

VillageDianne said...

The quote from IndieWire:

“If you were to ask me, ‘What would you change if you had your movie life to live over?’ I’d tell you that I’d have written exactly all the screenplays I’ve written. Only I wouldn’t have come near ‘All The President’s Men'” — William Goldman

VP81955 said...

Is Redford becoming Orson Welles at his advanced age, with "All the President's Men" as his "Citizen Kane"?

Sean Robbins said...

Tell us how you really feel, Ken.

Peter said...

This ties in with a Friday Question:

Have you ever met someone you made a snarky comment about on the blog and, if so, how did it go down? You don't hold back when you review movies or do your snarky posts, so it made me wonder what you do or say if ever come face to face with the people you've mocked or criticized. For example, have you encountered Nancy Meyers after saying you loathe her movies? Maybe I'm being naive but I picture Hollywood as a fairly small community where everyone eventually bumps into everyone. What would you say if you saw Robert Redford at a party after today's post?

P.S. Have you ever met Robert Wagner?

Kirk said...

WOW! When I first saw the title of this post, I thought it was some sort of joke.

DavidinPS said...

To paraphrase j. Mankiewicz in the All About Eve screenplay “ It’s time the piano realizes it did not write the concerto.”

Ruth Harris said...

“Nobody knows anything...... Not one person in the entire motion picture field knows for a certainty what's going to work. Every time out it's a guess and, if you're lucky, an educated one.” ― William Goldman, Adventures in the Screen Trade

Ditto book publishing. It's all a crap shoot.

Matt said...

Not to mention Goldman's "The Right Stuff" would've been a better movie.

Gary said...

Robert Redford has been one of my all-time favorites going back to Barefoot in the Park. It's devastating to find out he may also be a jerk. Idols are dropping like flies these days.

It reminds me of the last scene in Ordinary People, when Donald Sutherland tells his son, "Don't admire people too much. They'll disappoint you sometimes."

(Oddly enough directed by Robert Redford.)

Andrew said...

The Princess Bride is as near-perfect a screenplay as anything else I've ever read or seen.

Buttermilk Sky said...

"People don't realize someone writes that dialogue. They think the actors make it up as they go along." (Joe Gillis, SUNSET BOULEVARD)

gottacook said...

I've owned Adventures in the Screen Trade since the 1980s, and if this current episode gets more people to read it, it will have been worth the tsuris, maybe. The Written By article is great - I read it a few days ago.

As Goldman wrote then, the key decision he made while writing his first draft in the summer of 1974 - the decision that made any sort of screen adaptation of All the President's Men possible, really - was to jettison the last half of the book (i.e., everything that happened after Nixon's second inauguration).

blinky said...

Butch Cassidy and the Scum Bag Kid?
Although he may suffer from an acute case of Cryptomnesiac.

Dr Loser said...

II hesitate to bring this up, because it's dull. But I think it's illustrative of the point that this happens in all walks of life.

Back in my youth, I spent 18 months developing a software product from scratch. It sold to the tune of, I don't know, £2,000,000 or so. Chicken-feed to Hollywood,, but I felt proud. Off I went to seek my fortune in Silicon Valley.

Came back two years later, had a meal with the ex boss, the ex boss brought along the Head of Product Development, who I'll call Mr Magoo for purposes of anonymization. Same Head of Product Development. The conversation went as follows:

Magoo: We rewrote Product X from scratch.
Me: Oh, really?
Magoo: You wouldn't recognise it. Every line was changed.
Me: You completely rewrote eighteen months of my life?
Magoo: Yes, we had to.
Me: Did it never occur to you that spending eighteen months building a new, original product might be a better use of your time?

Every line verbatim, I swear. Well, apart from the last one, which is "dans l'esprit de l'escalier."

I was gob-smacked by the effrontery, but I offer that last line up in case anybody out there wishes to use it in similar circumstances.

(Robert Redford has just dropped massively in my esteem, btw.)

Dave Wrighteous said...

Just watched a William Goldman written film this week, 1978's "Magic" starring Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margaret, Burgess Meredith and Ed Lauter. It was incredible! Truly creepy and HIGHLY recommended! He's a great writer and for Redford to deny him his deserved credit is pretty low.

Covarr said...

Only marginally related, but he's not even that great an actor. Not too long ago, I watched the movie BAREFOOT IN THE PARK for the first time to prepare for an audition. There's a pretty interesting arc for the Paul Bratter character, a gradual fall from self-control and revelation of his jerk side. But it really felt like Redford didn't understand this arc, because even though it was clearly gradual in the script, his performance was more sudden, putting the majority of the character movement between scenes rather than in them.

I didn't use anything at all from his performance in my audition. Seeing as I got the part, I'd say I made the right choice.

But it does make me wonder, if he can mangle a fairly straightforward role like that and suck all the depth out of the character, why would anybody trust him near script rewrites? As much as acting and writing are very different skill sets, they both rely on a decent understanding of some of the same concepts (emotional arcs, human behavior) to do really well. If someone flattens the emotions of a scene to a single dimension on the screen, I'd be quite wary of putting him to paper where he could do the exact same thing to a script itself.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Goldman also did the Screenplay for MISERY, which is as difficult a screenPLAY to write, emphasis on PLAY, since that is what it is. It was also Goldman that supposedly recommended Kathy Bates

Cedric Hohnstadt said...

Friday Question re: William Goldman:

Goldman has written several novels as well as definitive books on the industry, yet (other than The Princess Bride) none of his work is available in audiobook form. This seems odd to me. I would think a high-profile author such as Goldman could easily earn some nice extra income from the audiobook market, and would probably have to go out of his way to stop publishers from recording his work. As an author yourself, can you share any insights or speculations as to what Goldman's thinking might be?

Daniel said...

William Goldman is one of my favorite screenwriters. The movies themselves are great, but the actual screenplays (I read them years ago when they were published in book form) were also a joy to read.

E. Yarber said...

I was at a party once and found myself shoved in a corner with some guy I didn't want to meet. He asked me what I did and I said I was a writer.

"Have you written anything I ever heard of?" he smirked.

I mentioned a few of my stories and lo and behold, he actually knew of one and mentioned enough of the plot to prove he had read it.

"But YOU couldn't have written it," he added. "It was too good."

I wasted a few more minutes trying to convince this stranger that I was indeed the author of my own work, then realized one of us was playing with a ball of yarn.

Naturally I never go to parties any more, but I apparently can't avoid dealing professionally with people out to totally negate my work. I've seen my work rewritten without my consent, names added to the credit in order to water down my contribution, and been stiffed on payment because clients couldn't sell projects they ruined. I'm currently in the process of stepping away from a job that once looked like a career breakthrough.

Of course I take it personally, but I know it's common and have seen it happen to writers with even more talent and credits. The general problem is that when a writer puts conviction into their work, it seems like some people go out of their way to pursue a scorched-earth policy toward them.

It's not enough for Redford that he doesn't like Goldman. He has to insist that Goldman did nothing, that Redford did a better job by a hotel pool in a few weeks than Goldman managed over several difficult drafts. It's one thing to accuse a writer of being bad, but there's something that strikes at the soul when one attempts to deny their work even exists.

Of course, Goldman's work still exists and we can validate his writing. A cheap shot like Redford's is easy to pull apart. But there are days when it seems like it's too hard to craft the work and too easy to wipe it away.

Tammy said...

Actors claiming that they're involved in the writing or that they "improvise" is a pet peeve of mine. To be fair, it's often the journalist who brings this up, asking actors if they have any imput on lines, story arcs etc., so maybe they feel pressured to say yes, especially if they are the star of the show and get producer credit. Isn't it enough that they do their own job well? Why are they expected to do somebody else's?

As for William Goldman, I stopped reading Adventures in the Screen Trade halfway through as A. I found the tantrums and antics the stars get away with infuriating, and B. I thought it would be funny and fun but instead it was kind of bitter. I guess all those years in Hollywood will do that.

Wendy Grossman - re: Friends, that was my first thought as well! Great scene.

Dr Loser said...

Well, William Goldman and all. Obligatory:

'Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - the most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go in against Robert Redford when he's preening himself in the dressing-room mirror!"' I think I have that more or less right.

(Remind me again as to what "All the President's Men" was all about ...)

VincentS said...

Ken, I don't think I've ever seen anything on this blog I have agreed with more and thank you for thrusting the spotlight on this. Not only am I a fellow William Goldman devotee - I have a book of essays by him as well as ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE and WHICH LIE DID I TELL? - and not only is ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN one of my all-time favorite movies but I have also read the book and I can tell you that, while a good read, it has so much minutia and so many people in it that hammering out a workable screenplay let alone the brilliant one Mr. Goldman produced - which somehow made repeated scenes of reporters knocking on doors and long phone conversations compelling - was nothing short of miraculous and deserving of the highest appreciation. I'm sure he put in many hours of hard work to accomplish this and for Robert Redford (as I have seen him) to repeatedly say things like, "we sent the writer (he doesn't even rate a name!) on his way," about this is one more slap in the face by a non-writer taking credit for a writer's work - on the two-hour-plus DVD commentary track Redford mentions William Goldmans's name ONCE! I have always been a Robert Redford fan. I am a fellow rebel and I really appreciate the work he has done with Sundance and other such things but for him to continue to plagiarize some one who not only did a great job for him but, as you said, was VERY instrumental in his career - Richard Zanuck said he would never have approved casting Redford in BUTCH CASSIDY if not for Goldman, Paul Newman, and George Roy Hill lobbying for him - is the height of ingratitude and "I did it all myself," star ego. I REALLY hope this posting gets back to him.

McTom said...

And speaking of douchebag 70's era screen idols, Warren Beatty would still like to remind us all that last year's Best Picture envelop kerfuffle WASN'T HIS FAULT!!!

MikeN said...

Don't stop there Ken. Show us what a Robert Redford All the President's Men would look like.

Anonymous said...

Having previously liked many of his films, and his public persona, I remember finding his tributes to both Natalie Wood (for TCM) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_PfXAr9fsE and Paul Newman (for Time Magazine) http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1846785,00.html a bit captious- sour, or condescending, maybe even envious- when I first saw them.

Mike Bloodworth said...

On the plus side, he did go to my high school. And he's in one of my favorite TWILIGHT ZONE episodes: "Nothing in the Dark."
M.B.

Sarah said...

I always hated Robert Redford. Smug Bastard.

Piece of Shit in need of publicity.

Patrick said...

Covarr - the best gauge of how good, or not good, of an actor Redford is is to compare him in The Great Gatsby to the version with DiCaprio. I can tell you that Redford comes off a poor second. He's more movie star than actor, he does have a good screen presence (The Sting, Butch Cassidy), but I think not much range.

Peter said...

For an entertaining insight into how writers can get fucked over, check out this podcast on Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, in which one of the writers talks about how Paul Hogan treated him and his writing partner. The good news in this instance was that Hogan failed to take credit for their work.

http://www.earwolf.com/episode/crocodile-dundee-in-los-angeles/

Buttermilk Sky said...

If the actor is also a writer, his contribution may make it into the film. I'm thinking of Welles's "cuckoo clock" speech in THE THIRD MAN, and Robert Shaw's story of the Indianapolis in JAWS. They both had proven records. Did Redford ever claim to write anything else?

Penelope said...

McTom: Beatty needs to shut up. He should have said that they had the wrong envelope as soon as he recognized that they did, instead of shoving it off to Faye Dunaway, who clearly thought he was grandstanding and goofing off with his dramatic pause. Instead, the man panicked and revealed a cowardly nature. But if you've ever heard a WB interview, you know just how excruciatingly dull he is when he goes even a tiny bit off script. He just can't do it.

As for Redford, great post, Ted. I've always thought he was a shitty actor--The Sting particularly showcases how weak he is, as other actors dance freaking circles around him. The late, great Robert Shaw wrote that while Newman was a gentleman and aways gracious, RR was a diva and an asshole.This gross insult to Goldman just proves what a huge, disingenuous, fraudulent jerk Redford is.

Christopher Lowery said...

I had heard/read a Redford interview some time ago where he mentioned that Goldman, and I am paraphrasing, had a part/input in writing the screenplay for the movie in question. I had thought it was a weird comment to make at the time, and this was some time ago.

A "gutless betrayal"

Here is some of what I found:

http://www.indiewire.com/2011/05/why-is-robert-redford-claiming-he-wrote-all-the-presidents-men-118834/

https://scottross79.wordpress.com/2014/06/22/what-kind-of-crazy-story-is-this-all-the-presidents-men-1976/

https://nevalalee.wordpress.com/2017/10/30/

Also, in Adventures In The Screen Trade, Goldman makes mention that one of them, Redford or Hoffman, forced a scene in that did not happen simply to get more screen time. Which one was it and what was the scene? I do not remember.

Thanks

Skoonix said...

I enjoyed reading this as I enjoy all your columns. But I don't care for the "Lynch mob" mentality of everyone else piling on. Redford is an incredibly talented actor, producer and filmmaker. Yes it's shitty that he is trying to take credit for the screenplay and yet probably 80 percent of all films throughout the world have this argument. Now of course, Goldman IS a fantastic writer and I worship his WORK but when it comes to personality - Goldman himself can be a number one jerk. In the few times Ive met him this has been the case and I've also heard from numerous people in the industry. But we're not talking talent here, we're talking
about personality. Because many of the great pieces of art ever made we're made by very flawed humans.

Penelope said...

I'm mortified that I inadvertently typed "Ted" and not "Ken." I've no excuse--I've been enjoying your blog for years and apologize from the bottom of my heart.

Forgot to mention in my last post that while I despise him as an actor and person, RR directed one of my favorite movies, "Ordinary People." I recently saw a video of Mary Tyler Moore simply GUSHING over how lucky she was to work with RR...how privileged....blah blah. She acted like a starstruck kid talking about him. And from the stage, Timothy Hutton told RR he loved him while giving his Best Supporting Actor acceptance speech. So clearly, at one time RR did something right by his actors, anyhow.



Lansing said...

Curious what triggered this rant - not that I disagree with it. From the way it’s written, I assumed the Redford biography, Vanity Fair article and Richard Stayton article were all recent. Turns out they’re all from 2011.

Heywood J. said...

I believe the late Terry Southern had a beef with the other credited writers of EASY RIDER, saying something like "the only thing Dennis Hopper ever wrote was endorsing a check".

MikeKPa. said...

But how do you really feel about RR?

Mike Doran said...

Full disclosure:
I've never been a fan of Robert Redford.
It goes all the way back to when he was an impossibly handsome leading man (someone I know said that he looked like "Jack Cassidy with a matte finish.")
I didn't dislike Redford, exactly; my negative feelings started with The Hot Rock, another Goldman screenplay, from a favorite novel by Donald Westlake.
Goldman stuck to Westlake's story for the most part, which was good, but Redford was totally miscast as Westlake's unlucky mastermind Dortmunder, and that damn near sunk the movie.
But this was early in the days of Red&Gold, before Bob Redford became ROBERT REDFORD!.
The rest of the story was pretty much inevitable.

I pulled down my copy of Adventures In The Screen Trade and rechecked the parts about All The President's Men.
Two possibilities:
(1): Redford wanted to have a girlfriend in the movie, even if there was no clear way to put one in (not sure if the real Woodward had an IRL girl during the period). Three scenes with this girl-character didn't make the final draft, so there too.
(2): Goldman also tells of an scene between Dustin Hoffman and a secretary that had no cognate in reality - but Goldman attributes this creative license not to Hoffman but to Carl Bernstein and his then-lady Nora Ephron, who were invited by Redford to do their own version of the saga - so there too, too.

Noting how badly Redford has aged in his most recent pictures, I'll make the guess that the portrait in his attic probably looks better than ever ...

Jahn Ghalt said...

A film can have terrific actors, editing, camera-work, costumes, sets (and dressing), but mediocre writing blows it all up. Does anyone know of exceptions to this?

Turn that around - a good script, with competent acting and production, and a low budget often yields a film that sparkles, that ends before you want it to.

Anonymous said...

Two things about William Goldman (a Highland Park Illinois boy- my neighborhood):
1. One of his first works is No Way To Treat A Lady, a vastly underrated movie with some great performances (except for Rod Steiger's over the top death scene). Lee Remick is especially good
2. One thing no one can ever take away from William Goldman is a movie quote so great that most people think it was said in real life, not a movie.
"Follow the money"
You can't do any better than that.
(I hope Redford did not claim credit for that quote)

Vinnie Favale said...

Great post Ken. Did you notice how Redford neglected to mention that the movie gave us a classic movie line “Follow the money” that was written by Mr Goldman for the movie and did not originate from the book.

Artie Breyfogle said...

Come on Ken...tell us how you REALLY feel about this...

MikeN said...

What movies has Redford written, so we can compare?

Next he'll be saying he did his own stunts too.

J Lee said...

Sounds like a profound case of late-in-life insecurity, combined with the ego of knowing far more people have heard of Robert Redford than have heard of William Goldman and the belief that advantage in notoriety allows him to make a statement like that without the interviewing reporter immediately calling shenanigans on the claim.

(Friday question off this -- Ken, has there ever been a case where you've written something, either credited or uncredited, that someone else has later claimed as their work?)

Edward said...

Nothing new here. I recall that when "The Natural" was released 30+ years ago Redford made all sorts of false comments about being a high school baseball teammate of Don Drysdale and playing baseball at U-Colorado.

I believe at that time in an issue of "The Sporting News" the former U-Colorado baseball manager called Redford's claims fake and that he is a phony and fraud.

Here is a link to a 2011 LA Times article examining Redford's baseball claims.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/sports_blog/2011/07/did-robert-redford-play-high-school-baseball-with-don-drysdale.html

therealshell said...

He did write all of his dialogue for ALL IS LOST.

Mike Barer said...

Being a lifelong Democrat, I loved "All The President's Men" I loved the Bernstein character for obvious reasons.

VincentS said...

Buttermilk Sky - Whereas Orson Welles did write his cuckoo clock speech in THE THIRD MAN (confirmed by the published screenplay) Robert Shaw's USS Indianapolis speech in JAWS, though edited by Shaw, was written by John Milius (confirmed by Steven Speilberg).

MHSweb79 said...

Ken, perhaps you should recommend Redford to the writing staff of the Roseanne reboot.

Mike Barer said...

MHSweb79 Ha Ha Roseanne reboot, that's funny!

Anonymous said...

Putting aside the Redford hate, I must thank you Ken for bringing the name William Goldman into the light. I am not a film devotee so writers sometimes elude credit where credit is due.

I loved All The President's Men and Butch and Sundance. I was born in the early 70's so a lot of classic movies passed me by...so I made it my goal to watch the ones I missed..and saw both last year. It is amazing how much great writing improves a movie. Both Newman and Hoffman made their movies while Redford brought the pretty. I never felt like I was seeing the character he was bringing..but the lines and the plots of both movies sucked me in.
Goldman really is the reason we refer to these two films as classics now.

My only resentment towards Redford was the adulation he received from my Aunt and mother..one had a large poster of him on her office wall...and both made me sit through "out of Africa" just for him...so I resent him for that...

Jon B. said...

Based on everything I've read about this matter, I am pro-Redford. Goldman may be great, but that doesn't automatically make him great on All The President's Men. And if he wasn't great with that particular screenplay, there may be good reasons for it, e.g., too many egomaniacs trying weigh in.

Jerry said...

Not to argue with one word said about Redford, but like Lansing, I am curious about what prompted this outburst now when the bio and articles under discussion all date back to 2011.

Ken Levine said...

There was a very recent article in the WGA "Written By" magazine.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm could it be because Redford was in 3 movies with your beloved Natalie Wood? Janice B.

Jerry said...

Ah, okay. Thanks, Ken. I wasn't trying to take away from what you were writing about, which I think is absolutely reprehensible. I was just curious as to what prompted your anger. I can't really understand it. It's not like Redford has some sad, pathetic little filmography that needs beefing up. A friend of mine, reading your rant, commented that Redford must have a really tiny dick.

Writers deserve more respect. Reminds me of Garry Marshall talking about how the writing staff of MORK AND MINDY got very put out with Robin Williams in the show's first season. A lot of people, many of whom Marshall said should have known better, were saying that Robin just threw away the script and ad-libbed the whole show. While Robin himself wasn't making that claim, the show's writers were upset that he was doing absolutely nothing to correct anybody about it. The writers eventually made their point by giving Robin a script one week that contained not one word of dialogue or action for Mork. Just "ROBIN AD-LIBS," from beginning to end. Robin, Marshall said, became much more vocal about giving due credit to the show's writing staff. (Marshall also wrote about another example of disrespect to writers one of his shows was responsible for. One day, the writing staff of LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY nearly walked out when an unidentified cast member left a mound of scripts in the writers' office with a large pile of dog turds on it. Marshall recalled chewing out the cast over that.)

Johnny Walker said...

@Skoonix Thank you for injecting a little bit of perspective amongst the vitriol. Redford is supremely talented, despite making some odd claims. (I wonder if Goldman or Pakula ever responded).

Likewise, anyone who blames Warren Beatty for the Oscar kerfuffle is either certifiable or works for PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Len said...

@Skoonix: Unfortunately, "piling on" is the nature of the internet. What I always find interesting about posts like these is how quickly the comments wander from discussions of the transgression Redford is charged with to trashing every aspect of the man and his career.

Wandering a bit off topic, I've heard the Robin Williams story before that Jerry mentions. Granted, Williams had a flair for ad-libbing that few others possess, but still, I've never really understood the idea many people have that anything ad-libbed is better than anything scripted. That anything an actor makes up on the spot is bound to be superior to anything a writer slaved over. Sort of like Sid Caesar's curious dismissal, late in his life, of his esteemed writing staff and his subsequent claim that the sketches on YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS and CAESAR'S HOUR were pretty much just ad-libbed because they were never written very well.

Franklin G. said...

Remember when William Goldman transformed Damon and Affleck's GOOD WILL HUNTING from a poorly written thriller into an Oscar-nominated drama and then said that he didn't do it?

Glenn said...

What I always find interesting about posts like these is how quickly the comments wander from discussions of the transgression Redford is charged with to trashing every aspect of the man and his career.

For me, that overkill--shredding everything about Redford and his work--ultimately detracts from the point being made, which is that Redford lied about rewriting the screenplay for "All the President's Men." I suppose people think they're being supportive of Ken by ripping Redford apart, but really, I think they're just muddying the waters.

Regarding GOOD WILL HUNTING, Goldman himself said that his only contribution to the movie was to agree with Rob Reiner that a subplot about the FBI wanting to use Matt Damon's character for spy work needed to be eliminated and that the movie needed to stay focused on family. Oh, and he said he would not have written the "it's not your fault" scene with the therapist. (Goldman: "I mean, that scene with Robin Williams gushing and Matt Damon and they're hugging, 'It's not your fault, it's not your fault.' I thought, Oh God, Freud is so agonized over this scene. But Hollywood tends to do that with therapists.")


Goldman on GOOD WILL HUNTING: "People don't want to think those two cute guys wrote it. I think people refuse to admit it because their careers have been so far from writing, and I think it's too bad. I'll tell you who wrote a marvelous script once, Sylvester Stallone. Rocky's a marvelous script. God, read it, it's wonderful. It's just got marvelous stuff. And then he stopped suddenly because it's easier being a movie star and making all that money than going in your pit and writing a script. But I did not write [Good Will Hunting]." (Both Goldman quotes from a 2003 WGA seminar)