Career[ edit ] Guzikowski was raised in Brockton, Massachusetts. He was interested in visual arts as a child, and went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts with a major in film. He was unable to find any work in the New York City film industry after graduating but began writing spec scripts in his spare time while working other jobs, and found a manager in Los Angeles. After he sold the script to Alcon Entertainment , the project became stuck in development hell for a number of years as various directors and cast members, including Bryan Singer , Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio , signed on only to drop out later.
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Scott: As I understand it, you grew up in Massachusetts. I grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts. I had mostly been doing visual art for most of my life. Drawing and making short films and stuff like that. I went to art school and I did major in film there. I was doing music and art and all of this other kind of stuff. I was all over the place and at some point, I decided I would pick one thing and see how that went so I decided to just try writing scripts exclusively and not doing anything else.
I was working a job at the time so I would write in the morning, write at night and just try to start writing spec scripts. I had written one and basically sent a query letter to three management companies in LA that I randomly pulled out of the Hollywood Creative Directory and one of those responded.
The guy is Adam Kolbrenner who is my manager today. Soon after that, we would write back and forth, and I would send him drafts and stuff like that. After a little bit, I sent him the idea for Prisoners and started sending him drafts of that. Then at that point we were able to sell it and that allowed me to move out here and start writing full time. First of all, he told me you sent him a letter, right? An actual envelope? Aaron: Yeah, it was a written letter.
The fact that I lived in Brooklyn was also something that he responded to. That seemed to help. Those two things caused him to actually get back to me, so it worked out, I was lucky in that respect. All of these things, for some reason, pushed him to actually read the letter. Which was good. Scott: At some point, you decided to focus your writing on screenplays, but that presumes at some point, you understood there are actually people who actually write movies.
I majored in film there, so I knew how everything worked, in terms of just basic film production. After I got out of school, I made short films and things like that. I was very much aware of the process and screenwriting as a possible career, or what have you. Scott: Did you take screenwriting courses when you were in art school, or did you pick up the craft some other way? Aaron: I never really did. I never took any courses.
I think I might have taken a very basic one at some point during film school. I think it was a required class you had to take, and I think they went over the format a little bit. Other than that, I never took any writing courses or screenwriting courses or anything like that. I just tried to read as much as possible. In general just reading fiction, just reading books. I read some screenplays, but constantly watching movies. Aaron: Right, exactly, part of the job.
Scott: What are some of the movies that influenced you early on, inspired you to write? Aaron: Definitely The Silence of the Lambs was always a big one for me, both the screenplay and the movie, I always had a great deal of admiration for it. I always loved The Exorcist. It was one of my favorites. The Shining is another one of my favorites. All of the Kubrick films.
I like popcorn movies. I like a lot of early Spielberg stuff, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Jaws are two of my all time favorites, just to name a few. Yes, the script I actually caught his attention with was a horror script. Scott: You worked on Prisoners for two years with Adam. How many drafts of the script do you figure you wrote? Aaron: Oh, many, many drafts. I would send it to him and it would take time for the notes to come back to me. Just the process itself was kind of stretched out.
But yeah, I did. I wrote a lot of drafts. The basic story always kind of remained the same, but I think it was just trying to find the best way to maximize all the elements and figure out who and what to focus on and when. Many, many drafts, for sure. But yes, it surely is. Writing certainly is rewriting. Scott: Prisoners has an interesting history.
There were several people attached to it at various points. Mark Wahlberg was the first person connected with the script, yes? Aaron: Yeah, Mark Wahlberg had read it early on. He was very interested in it. He helped get some more eyes on it. Originally he was attached to star in the film, and Christian Bale was attached at one time, when Mark was.
I think Bryan Singer was attached to direct, and then it changed over. It was going to be Antoine Fuqua for a while, and then it changed over to Leonardo DiCaprio was going to star in it for a bit. It went through a lot, in terms of the various players, of different incarnations over the years. Hurry up and wait. Aaron: Oh, yeah, for sure. There is no schedule, so you just have to keep on keeping on. Scott: At some point, you were hired to write Contraband.
Maybe you could talk a little bit about how that happened. Aaron: Yeah. It was a great movie. That happened really fast in terms of the writing of the script and we went right into production. It just rolled along in a really smooth way, so that was great. That, oddly enough, ended up coming out long before Prisoners did. Scott: Did that contribute at all to Prisoners getting set up and getting made? They were continually trying to find the right talent to make the movie they wanted to make.
Terrance Howard as Franklin, the father of one of missing girls, his wife Nancy played by Viola Davis. Scott: The origination of the idea, if I remember correctly, was a short story you did. It was about a man who captured someone who the man believed had hit his teenage daughter with a car. Aaron: Exactly. It was a short, unpublished story that I had just written for myself about this guy.
He believed this guy was guilty of hitting his daughter with his car. He captures this guy and keeps him in this well in his backyard. He keeps him just down in this well and he feeds him just enough to keep him alive over the course of a year. It was this little horror story, but that was the kernel that gave birth to the larger story. Even in the early drafts of the script, it was more exclusively focused on the father character. Which was good, which expanded the whole thing and makes it a more exciting ride.
Or was there some sort of pressure in terms of casting, to amp up that role? Aaron: No, the script never really changed after it was bought. This was all stuff that happened before it was purchased. After it was purchased, the detective character, we enlarged that piece of it a little bit more.
It organically started happening that we want to see more of what this guy is doing, and get this different perspective on this chain of events. How did that come to you, and why that scene for an opening? The hunting the deer is a very visceral way to start telling a story. Of course, he tries to instill these values in his son, and be prepared to anything. It comes out of that. What was the inspiration for you with that? Aaron: I was brought up Catholic, so I definitely have it knocking around in my brain anyway.
Go Into The Story Interview: Aaron Guzikowski
A bleak kidnapping thriller is a tough sell to studios, especially one without a neat little bow wrapped around the ending. Alcon Entertainment bought the script sans talent attachments. Video With Villeneuve committed, an all-star cast and crew of past Oscar winners and nominees lined up en masse. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal signed on to play the two leads, bolstered by a supporting cast that includes Terrence Howard, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Melissa Leo and Paul Dano as the primary suspect in the disappearance of two young girls. Editor Joel Cox and cinematographer Roger Deakins, who has been nominated for 10 Oscars, highlight the below-the-line talent. Warner Bros.
Nizragore On the tailgate, in painted letters it says:. Submit a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will prisonees be published. The head guzkkowski the investigation, Detective Loki Jake Gyllenhaalarrests the driver Paul Danobut a lack of evidence forces Loki to release his only suspect. What lessons did you learn from zaron your first screenplay?
‘Prisoners’ Screenwriter on the Hugh Jackman-Jake Gyllenhaal Thriller’s Twisted Road to Theaters
Scott: As I understand it, you grew up in Massachusetts. I grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts. I had mostly been doing visual art for most of my life. Drawing and making short films and stuff like that. I went to art school and I did major in film there. I was doing music and art and all of this other kind of stuff.