Interview: Alan Loeb

Friday, December 16th

Listen to Gavin's interview with Hollywood screenwriter, Alan Loeb (Collateral Beauty)...

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Hello how are you. I'm great how are you. Good so this is this is a very different kind of interview fur I Gavin grades the movie's first off thank you for doing this this is up a special requests that I had how how many special requests for interviews have you had. Probably not many is just a writer. But it's because you wrote a movie that I saw that made me wanna get in touch with you I saw collateral beauty and it affected me and I do. Look you up. Because usually. With movies you know there's all kinds of teams of writers you know I mean your your Hollywood writer that had us on slew of successful films under your belt you you know about that. More than me. Why why are there usually teams of writers on movies because of executives are or why. Yeah it's a process it's an interesting thing because in television attempt to be a little bit more unified vision. And you know in theater in place like here it's extremely. Of the writer's medium but still it's really more about filmmakers medium has the director's medium and lately the last. Twenty years in the movie stars. Have a lot of power and it's Elena director comes in in the movies that have the power they wanna try things out they often have their own riders that they prefer to work weapon in the system it just still so righter coming Karl. Often not all the time. But often especially with the big blockbuster tent pole movies that the action movies sometimes the comedy movies. So that's that's that's the process that the machine too many movies but I think Ron Mott. It's a little bit more friendly to the writer's agent. Is that true for you do you have any actors that that request Yeo. How are yeah I've worked with many many actors and I've I've been in the guidance comment at the last you know at all. Do analogy we use an artist pitching it's like academic comes in and be in the released under 68 the eighth inning and the closer. I extend the starter I've been poke in the fourth inning. And luckily I Abacha movies I've come you know pitched a complete game. Of course collateral duty was one that I pitched a complete game. Thank you for getting me back on track with him via the it's that the process is always been fascinating to me I always wanted to be a screenwriter but I ended up been in radio instead some always interested to hear how it goes but. You are the only person. Credited with there were you know for writing collateral beauty in it if this is gonna get a little serious but you you wrote a very serious movie so I I think that that the you know you'll you'll understand this. This studio wasn't nervous inviting me to to see this movie and it was because my daughter died and it's rare I'm a year and a half through through my grief journey. And the movie is about a man working through his grief. After the death of his daughter and you never see movies. About grief why do you think that is what what compelled you to write this movie. It is interest. I think it definitely I think it's you know obviously. These these are really really tough landmines there. In terms of terms like people are movies about pre I think they're more on the independent oracle bigger or smaller movies. But but in terms of the studio movies you're right in in terms of big Hollywood studio movies with major movie stars. And big budgets it's very hard to to act all there it's just hard to tackle that but it's hard to tackle Corey it's hard especially the death of the child. I Ito really really. Really tough things to sell. Food to try to get people to make it's just 'cause they're very very people. In so doing this I didn't write this movie in the original in the original concept of right collateral beauty and I wrote it. And it back in meeting it was a spec script I didn't did you do the studio it and sell it to the studio I didn't even pitch it to my agents I guess I'm writing something. Very emotional it's probably try to eat no one might wanna I have to get out. Out of me I wrote the movie I mean basically you know obviously things changed their production but basically that the DNA of the movie is what I wrote allow. And it showed it to people. I'm thinking it was going to be a tiny movie and site I have the freedom. Pitching is what I want achieved as a storyteller and I didn't come from I need to make money or any debate the big blockbuster. I came from what's the truth of this story what's the best way to tell the story about someone who writes. These letters to time Robin back. And it took me. The personal tragedy to me that was the tragedy that make sense and that was the one that would really knock someone out and have. Have been playing dominoes. You don't aimlessly in the operating giving up on their lives and their business. To the chagrin into the paint his business partners so it will it boost the charm for this story. We're losing chopper per hour. And I got to do it in the breakaway because a tourist studio developed stay home. And it studio bought the pitch or studio came to me with a book we might have had developed out of historic visit to hard sell to be honest. Right I was shocked and blown away that then a major studio not only will put this out we'll put it out at Christmas. You know and and I know that this is Oscar season and and this is absolutely an Oscar contender it's probably. Will Smith's best performance he's never given and the more research yield because. Because the story again coming from my own personal experience it rings so true and things that he says and things that that members in grief counseling groups that he goes to rings so true I was sure that you had some sort of roll lately you lost the child or something happening and I couldn't find any thing in your biographies. About that. Yeah no I don't know whose child. I hate as a writer just you don't have to do my job is to capture moments troops hopefully the that's where I can. And quick quick funny story about that my first movie was it drama called things I love the fire where Benicio del Toro played heroin addict. And through night it research I kind of got that up on the street and my mother after seeing at least leaked out cheap that you say you don't care what that I can I embarked on. Austerity kill how which you know lob that took its message out that this is a themselves. It is really felt. You do have to rent a part of our job is to hopefully get close to the emotional truth but it I'm sure. Or you know writers we fell all the time doing it split but hopefully we couldn't connect ourselves too to get it right sometimes it that way with that and hopefully you're right it. Do you did what did you what a tribute to your writing and did they rings so true and so many different subjects than. I mean it really is impressive did you research grief. Counseling and grief groups. I did I do a lot of research on on on these subjects in it and it was an. It's it's not easy you know it's it's I guess being the allegory will be when an act perhaps the play that type thing. You know what an actor has depleted serial killer and they need to pick out of king character and and I can take to screw them up a little better can really affect them while they're playing that character so while I'm writing something that's a little darker a little more painful it affects me a little bit. Yeah I wanted to talk deal and I wanted to find out the truth behind the story as collateral beauty is is a truthful and painful movie. I think that it's it was cathartic it was cathartic for me anyway just to sit through that and and I I wish you the best man I IE I hope that this pops up on some nomination west's. I appreciate that and I really do it you know what to tell you the truth that that doesn't it doesn't matter because signal what you told me about it being cathartic for you is really really why do it. So that that makes me feel great. Well good luck in the future okay. Okay thank you very nice to each you'd still around take care.