A film begins life as a screenplay… As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio, Daniel Dercksen is a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years. This page celebrates screenwriters and their respective journeys of bringing great stories to life on film.
The Metropolitan Opera’s award-winning series of live high-definition cinema simulcasts continues with Anthony Davis’s groundbreaking and influential opera X: The Life and Times Of Malcolm X. In cinemas from 15 Dec.
Director Todd Hayes found Samy Burch’s screenplay for May December exceptional. It navigated potentially volatile subject matter with a kind of observational patience, it simmered with moral and narrative ambiguity which, as a film, would enlist the viewer into an active and excited state of watching and questioning. It explores one of the great talents of the human species: our colossal refusal to look at ourselves. Now in cinemas
Filmmaker Eli Roth’s ode to 80s slasher-horror Thanksgiving began in 2006 when he created a fake trailer that would appeal to the grindhouse crowd. 17 years later horror fans were still begging for the best horror movie never made. Now in cinemas
There’s some thrilling and captivating films, documentaries, live theatre and opera for everyone to escape into during December in South African cinemas and streaming platforms. Read more
Visionary writer-director Terrence Malick masterfully shines the spotlight on humanity with A Hidden Life. It is based on the true story of Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian peasant farmer born and raised in the village of St. Radegund, who refused to take the oath of allegiance to Hitler during World War II, sacrificing everything, including his life, rather than to fight for the Nazis. On Disney +
The blockbuster Hunger Games saga has thrilled and captured the imaginations of audiences around the world for over 15 years. Now, audiences will finally see how this world came to be, through the origin story of Coriolanus Snow in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. Now in Cinemas
Screenwriter David Scarpa’s craft lies in writing material with psychological themes that lend themselves to a sweeping cinematic experience. With Napoleon, he uses real-life characters as a vehicle to illuminate broader themes about the human condition. Now in cinemas
Writer-director James Napier Robertson is well-versed in dramatisations of real-life stories. He readily admits, “There’s always a pressure and responsibility when telling a story about a real person.’ The fascinating story of Joy Womack, who made history as an American ballerina who was accepted into the Bolshoi Ballet Academy drew his interest, and after meeting Joy, he became utterly inspired to tell her remarkable story with Joika. Now in Cinemas
Following winning an Oscar for best original screenplay for Good Will Hunting, their first screenplay which they wrote together, and a friendship of over 40 years, Bostonians Matt Damon and Ben Affleck re-team for the screenplay of The Last Duel, a historical epic based on actual events that unravels long-held assumptions about France’s last sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals. Watch on Disney Plus
Based on the national bestseller The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay, Knock at the Cabin was adapted by director M. Night Shyamalan. In his hands, the film explores ideas behind faith and belief, certainty and doubt, and the power and limits of both. Watch on Showmax
“I liked the idea of exploring the inner psyche of somebody who kills for a living. And how he qualifies his notion of what he’s doing from what other people might ‘misperceive’ it as.” says director David Fincher of The Killer, who re-unites with screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker, with whom he created the indelible serial killer thriller Se7en. Watch on Netflix
For the inspirational Nyad that marks the narrative directorial debut of Academy Award-winning documentary filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, they teamed up with screenwriter Julia Cox to adapt he memoir “Find a Way” by Diana Nyad. Now on Netflix
“This is an incredibly timely story. Thematically it’s about finding light in times of darkness,” says screenwriter Steven Knight on the decision to adapt All the Light We Cannot See for television. “There’s just a very hopeful feeling about it, that hope will triumph over evil in the end.” Watch on Netflix
“So, my apartment is currently being haunted by the ghost of a dead child and he’s trying to kill me,” said Former BuzzFeed cartoonist Adam Ellis in the viral ghost thread dubbed “Dear David.” From there, he unfolded the tale through hundreds of tweets — with photographs and hand-drawn images — over a series of weeks, his followers rapt with each update. So naturally, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood came calling. Now the Dear David film is a reality, from a screenplay by Mike Van Waes, who loves to blend heart and humour with a slash of horror. Now in cinemas
Producer Chris Curling is the lead producer on the film and was first sent the script for The Miracle Club twenty years ago. The screenplay, written by Dubliner Jimmy Smallhorne says his inspiration for the film came from his Mam and all other women who were the best multitaskers. “We all have our jobs to make our little piece better, and I think The Miracle Club is my attempt to make my patch a little better”. Now in cinemas
John Lee Hancock, directing and producing The Little Things from a script he wrote almost 30 years ago, wanted to approach the gritty nature of the job as a means of exploring both the intellectual and psychological sides of solving crimes.
“I was just astounded by this incredible story,” says screenwriter Wells Tower after reading a New York Times article, “The Pain Hustlers,” by journalist Evan Hughes about the dubious practices of a pharmaceutical company and the doctors they had convinced to prescribe their new drugs. Pain Hustlers streams on Watch on Netflix
Nearly a decade ago, game developer Scott Cawthon had an epiphany and created point-and-click survival game Five Nights at Freddy’s that was optioned by producer Jason Blum, founder of the undisputed global house of horror, Blumhouse, who believed that it was possible to make a successful film from the beloved game franchise. Now in cinemas
Now in his fifth decade making movies, Spanish writer-director Pedro Almodóvar is still pushing himself to explore new directions in his art while at the same time staying true to his playfully provocative roots, exploring the nature of Spanish identity. He originally floated the idea for his latest film Parallel Mothers to Penélope Cruz when promoting All About My Mother over 20 years ago. Now on Showmax.
“It just tapped into such a shared truth for women of every generation in terms of how they navigate through sexual politics,” says screenwriter Michelle Ashford, who had previously tackled sexual dynamics and politics in the television series Masters Of Sex. in adapting Cat Person, Ashford was eager to jump into the minefield of issues that the short story suggested. Now in cinemas.
Killers of the Flower Moon is an epic Western crime saga, where real love crosses paths with unspeakable betrayal. It is directed by Academy Award winner Martin Scorsese from a screenplay by Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese, based on David Grann’s best-selling book. Now in cinemas
For screenwriter Mark Bomback it was a gift to adapt Garth Stein’s beloved novel The Art Of Racing In The Rain, which features a wise and philosophical dog who longs to be reincarnated as a human. Watch on Disney Plus
“I love this movie because it has two things that sometimes people think are opposites,” says Jodie Foster of the thriller Money Monster “One is that it’s a mainstream thriller that’s exciting, fast-paced, smart, and yet, still has a real accessibility. The flip side, which is the most important reason to go to the movies, is that you’re moved by a real story. It’s incredibly relevant.” Now on Showmax
“I was very interested in a story about destiny and humanity,” says visionary storyteller Guillermo del Toro, who journeys into the most arrestingly dark, sweeping and realistic world – the cinematic world of film noir with Nightmare Alley, exploring the murky lines between illusion and reality, desperation and control, success, and tragedy. Now on Disney +
Crimson Peak is “the darkest of fairytales,” says filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who brings to the screen a masterful and imaginative Gothic romance. Watch on Showmax
50 years since the blockbuster’s theatrical launch, The Exorcist: Believer marks a new beginning that takes audiences into the darkest heart of inexplicable evil. shocking audiences around the world. Now, a new chapter begins. From Blumhouse and director David Gordon Green, who shattered the status quo with their resurrection of the Halloween franchise, comes The Exorcist: Believer. In cinemas 6 Oct
Producer Jason Blum talks about The Exorcist: Believer
“How do you make a film where the feeling you’re trying to evoke is ‘not knowing’?” questions writer-director Grant Singer. “Mysteries that are most resonant and lasting are the most hidden. Reptile began with a desire to capture a feeling of being deceived. Now on Netflix
“It made sense for John to do some soul-searching in a way we haven’t seen before, ” says screenwriter Josh Stolberg, who co-wrote the screenplay of SAW X with Pete Goldfinger. Now in Cinemas
Artificial Intelligence (AI), is one of today’s most hotly debated topics and is at the epicenter of The Creator, a science fiction thriller set in the near future. “The Timing of this film is surreal,” says director/co-writer Gareth Edwards. “Even though we’ve been developing this movie for years, it’s opening at a fascinating time when our world is wrestling with a lot of the issues and questions we wanted to address with the film.” Now in Cinemas / AI Films
Almost 20 years ago writer-director Wes Anderson was inspired to adapt Roald Dahl’s story The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar. “ The story completely hooked me as a child, but if you take away his words, well, I guess, it’s not a movie I felt compelled to do. It’s a great Dahl story, but if I do it using his words, his descriptions, then maybe I know how to do it.” Watch on Netflix
When writer-director Celine Song found herself sitting at a bar sandwiched between two men from vastly different parts of her life, it was there, sitting in this convergence of worlds, that Song, a mainstay in New York theater as a playwright, found the inspiration for what would become her filmmaking debut, Past Lives. Now in cinemas
“After really showcases an authentic romance and all of its beauty and all of its ugliness at the same time,” says writer-director Castille Landon, who directed After Ever Happy and After Everything of the After franchise. “It feels really real and relevant and I think we’re so exposed to this concept of a fairy tale romance that when you get into the real world, you find that’s not at all how things are.” After Everything is now showing in cinemas (Watch the After franchise on Showmax)
“At the heart of our vision for Luma Animation and for Headspace, is the notion that everyone deserves to be the hero of their own story, not forgetting that, ultimately, we rely on the support of friends and collaborators to triumph,” Paul Meyer and Gerhard Painter, who directed this vibrant South African CGI Sci-Fi action-adventure from a screenplay they co-wrote with Daniel Buckland and Ronald Henry. Now in cinemas / South African Filmmaking
“There is nothing more haunted than a Venetian palazzo, the city just calls for mist and masks, and the creepy crawly, throw-a-body-in-the-river kind of feel, ” says screenwriter Michael Green of A Haunting In Venice, an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel Hallowe’en Party, directed by Kenneth Branagh. Now in cinemas
“It’s a police-procedural show that shifts and transforms from moment to moment so you never know what’s coming next, says Paul Tomalin, creator and lead writer of the series Bodies, based on the mind-bending graphic novel by Si Spencer. Now on Netflix
Encounters is a landmark four-part series that travels the globe to explore four extraordinary true stories of encounters with otherworldly phenomena. Watch Netflix.
Although AI is now a reality, it started life as speculative fiction a century ago when German writer Thea von Harbou wrote Metropolis. Read more
Kings have ruled the imagination of readers and audiences since King Sargon of Akkad ruled over a rich Mesopotamian Empire circa 2330 BCE. Read more