Backstage Interview Transcript: Writing (Original Screenplay)

CATEGORY: Writing (Original Screenplay)
SPEECH BY: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo


Q.    Congratulations.  Here, here.  A really quick question.  I would like to know, how do you feel about this award and how do you think this empowered to Latino writers here in this industry?

A.    (Alexander Dinelaris, Jr.) I'm going to leave that to the Latino writers.

A.    (Nicolás Giacobone)  We feel fantastic.  This is amazing.  And I mean, I have no idea what is going to happen with Latino writers.  They should keep writing.  I mean, shit happens.

A.    (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) I have to say something.  These films owe a lot to Julio Cortáza, to Jorge Luis Borges, to Ernesto Sabato, to Octavio Paz, to Carlos Fuentes.  I think we all owe all those incredible ‑‑ and many others.  Obviously [unintelligible].  I don't know how many other great writers.  But I think we all ‑‑ including this guy that is not from Cuba.  He has read those.  I think there is a lot of the pain and the blood and the pulse of the Latin American writers in this film.


Q.    First of all, congratulations to you guys.  My question for you is, you know, BIRDMAN, the story is ‑‑ it's about show business, and it hits so close to home through the writing, through developing the screenplay.  What kind of new experiences or new things that you guys found out about yourselves through the experience of screenplay writing and directing and everything?

A.    (Alexander Dinelaris, Jr.) I feel like when Alejandro called us, he had an idea that was an abstraction on its own.  And he said, I don't know what this is, but I want to make it, and this is how I want to make it.  And he just forced us ‑‑ I think we were the first round of people that he forced to just jump down the rabbit hole with him and fly.  And I think as a writer you sort of want to control things.  Structurally, dialogue‑wise, you want to be in control of what you're writing.  He didn't allow that with BIRDMAN.  And so it was constant battle with ourselves, and we knew there would be no editing, so whatever we wrote would end up on the screen, which is the hardest part of writing a script to BIRDMAN is there's no ‑‑ you can't edit ourselves in the editing room and you couldn't edit us on the set because Chivo and Alejandro had the camera choreographed to happen, and it's live.  And so it was a real challenge to, one, let go; and, two, let go in such chaos and feel okay about it.  And somehow he does that with his voice and his smile and his passion.  You're like, okay, I'll make a fool of myself for you.  And if you ask us, we'd say that, and if you ask Keaton, he would say that, and the rest of the cast and everybody.  That's what Alejandro demanded, and that's what came out for better or worse on the screen.


Q.    How did you convince Fox Searchlight to make this movie? (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) In my Mexican style, I just show them my gun and said, hi, do you want to do it?  No, I think, you know, it was a very, very, in a way, a long road to be selling these with your hat and with your heart and said, guys, this is what we want to do.  And honestly, it was a difficult, you know, take.  I'm not bitter or even ‑‑ I don't blame the people that didn't finance this film.  I think when you hear the idea of this film and in that case, you know, even to make this in a one‑take and drums and Michael Keaton in that time.  I mean, everything sounds so risky in the ‑‑ I would say ‑‑ I don't like this word, but it is ‑‑ the horrible corporate mentality of the film industry now, that nobody could see the light out of this.  So Fox Searchlight in a way that they are in a way smart guys, and they ‑‑ we know each other, and they trust in me.  I think I couldn't be more grateful for them to jump a part of it.  And the first one to jump was New Regency, then Fox Searchlight and then World View.  And between three ‑‑ these three companies we make what we needed.  And it was incredible that they really put something because it could have been a disaster.  And it was very responsible to have made this film, honestly.


Q.    Thank you for this movie.  I really loved it.  Edward Norton and Michael Keaton are all very good.  Were they in your writing on the script?  And also, will there be a BIRDMAN four?

A.    (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) No.  Honestly, this is one of those films that ‑‑ it was a meticulous rehearsal.  And there was very, very little changes in the rehearsals.  I think all of them really loved the writing.  All of them really embraced what the words said and, in a way, there was no freedom.  I think that all the rehearsals were really meticulously performed.  And they just bring the talent and the spirit and the way for this stiff words and stiff things just fly by the talents of their souls and their knowledge and their power.  But there was not a lot of changes, and they really loved what was written original.


Q.    Congratulations on the award.  Following on from a previous question.  With the glut of super hero films, have you found with this films the sentiment towards any of the independent‑minded products you have? 

A.    (Alexander Dinelaris, Jr.) I don't think it reflects one thing against the other that Alejandro would tell you. 

The commentary was, I think, as conceived by Alejandro, it was about all of us.  It was about our egos.  So it was about actors' egos.  It was about writers.  It was about critics, which didn't go over really well.  But it was about the thing that makes us human.  And so I don't think it reflects one or another against super heroes as a franchise or the mode of movies as they exist right now.  It exists as an independent piece that might be a meditation on ego, and just reflects the time.  And at this particular time, it happens to be super hero movies.  There might be another time where we'd say it's the action film or the so on and so forth.  At this particular ‑‑ reflecting the mirror against what's happening right now, it happens to be super hero films.  But in ten years, this might have been a commentary on something else.  Or I think Alejandro's point with ‑‑

A.    (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) To the previous question, BIRDMAN ‑‑ BIRDMAN four opens next summer.


Q.    Alejandro, a lot of people didn't see the humor in Mr. Penn's joke in announcing the last award of the evening.  Can you discuss that and whether you thought there was any sort of ill intent there.

A.    (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) I found it hilarious.  Sean and I have that kind of brutal relationship where only true friendship can survive which is honestly and joke about things that any other ‑‑ that can tell you that, you will be mad.  When a friend of that caliber tells you, you know, when I was directing him in 21 GRAMS, he was always making jokes about that.  And I make him ‑‑ I make on him a lot of very tough jokes that I will not tell you.  But anyway, we have that kind of relation of old friendship.  I didn't find him offensive.  I think it was very funny, in my personal view.





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