Screenwriting : When you are writing a script how often do you envision an 'A' lister in the role? by Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

When you are writing a script how often do you envision an 'A' lister in the role?

Would like to hear from screenwriters only please. Unless a lighting guy from New Jersey wants to add his two cents. Which he probably will.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hi, Steven. Actually, I don't. I focus on characters, who they are. Then, after they are fully developed, sure, I may begin to think about how so-and-so could fit, but never really while writing, never "A" listers, and I never specify. Could limit possibilities, imho. ;)

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Hey, Beth. Thank you for your comments. I generally do the same thing. The reason I brought it up is that I have a friend of mine who works at FILM INDEPENDENT and he told me a story about a screenwriter who wrote a film specifically for ROBERT REDFORD and sent him the script and a letter and said: "Nobody but you can make this film work". ROBERT REDFORD was so taken by this he took a meeting and the film was made. You will have to forgive me I forgot the name of the writer and the name of the film. So the next time I see him I will get it for you.

Dan MaxXx

I do envision being fired and replaced by an A-List screenwriter.

Dan MaxXx

Redford? All is Lost by JC Chandor, a 30-something page script with 3-4 lines of dialogue.

Dan Guardino

Steven. Sometimes i do that. A long time ago I wrote a script with John Travolta in mind. I sent a query letter to his agent and he requested the screenplay. A few weeks later I got a letter from John Travolta's manager/producer. They tied it up for a year but eventually it died a slow death.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Steven: Sure, there are always those rare cases. And if you happen to find yourself with an incredible idea and a possible connection with an "A" lister, then I say go for it! Lol! My point, really, is a practical one -- for example, I don't have a direct means to Robert Redford. So, I'd rather focus on something with many possibilities. Others may feel differently, but it truly depends on the script, means, and circumstances. Nonetheless, always be open minded, right? ;))))

Cherelynn Baker

Sometimes! Dream big!

Heidi Schussman

I sort of have a flip side to this. I write my screenplay and as my character develops I begin to visualize which actor he or she reminds me of. Sometimes the character reminds me of an acquaintance. For instance my MC reminds me of Jeremy Renner, The supporting guy is much more difficult because he's got the craziness only Mel Gibson could pull off but looks like Jason Lewis or Paul Walker. Fun post Steven... it really made me think.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Thank you all for your comments. Keep it coming. There was a short film in this year's Tribeca that sheds some light on STAR POWER. It was a short on the problem of a French Ballerina who had to make a crucial decision. The only way the critics said the film worked is at the very end when the French Ballerina had to confront the Ballet Director, the Ballet Director was CATHERINE DUENERVE

Peter Roach

I don't. I wrote a character in my TV pilot that was totally Samuel Jackson. The reviewers noticed it too. Maybe Samuel Jackson has become a character unto himself. My characters have a face though. Not always an actor, but I have a person in my head.

Mercedes Street

I only ever envision Donald Glover but that's only because I love him and it's super rare that I envision him as a main character lol

Florica Cimpoies

Yes I do, it helps to foresee how it will look on the screen , but not always. It's also important to me try to match the characters with the actors. So that it will have more chances to look ''real''

Aray Brown

I don"t.

Wendy Jones

Ironically, writing novels, I did, but now I'm writing screenplays, I don't seem to.

Lisa Clemens

I really don't. I like to imagine the character in my mind and let casting and the director do the rest. Funny story though, When I wrote Delirium, I had a definite look and attitude in mind for one of the characters, then the director, who knows I'm very interested in what goes on behind the scenes, send me a few clips of guys trying out for the role. One guy was trying SO HARD to be the next Justin Beiber and it just freaked me out because he was horrible and absolutely NOT what I saw while writing the character. I got scared when the director said he kinda liked this kid. I voiced my opinion politely, and he still thought he might go with him... Then his daughter said the same thing I did and that sealed it. I should send her a thank you gift or something...

Kevin Carothers

I concentrate on characters - Russian spies. Greek mythological God(desse)s. College professors. Dead women back from the dead. Revolutionary war spies. Drug dealers. Drug users. Mystics.

Guess I like spies and druggies.

Maybe Matt Damon, Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr. Can play parts in my scripts and maybe they would be total PITAs.

My fantasies lie more with directors and producers.

If I could get Cloe Zhao to direct a script of mine....

Philip Hay

There are so many comments here. I think mine will be lost in the malestrome . I have a very strong female lead script and who cares. If you do. Pm me. Cheers.

Wayne Jarman

I originally wrote my Professor When Comedy (over twenty years ago) as a Radio Play and I wrote it for me (certainly not an A lister) because I planned to voice that character in the recording studio. When I, recently, converted it to a ScreenPlay, I had to add more pages because the number of Radio Play episodes weren't sufficient for a Feature. While writing those extra scenes, I found myself visualising Rowan Atkinson (Blackadder) in the role. It worked for me and it actually assisted with the flow of dialogue.

PJ Edwards

Never! I may have their look or personality in mind, but never the actual person.

Eric L. Williams

For me, it may happen once every blue moon. Even when it does.....the thought never sticks around for long.

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

Enjoying all the comments so far. Keep em coming.

Derek Reid

I did at the start. Not anymore. Your average spec writer won't have any imput anyway. That said, if they want to cast Andrew Garfield in any of my scripts they have my blessing. The 60 year old man, the 14 year old boy.... whatever.

Chad Descoteaux

Well, in order to pitch to Happy Writers, you have to have an actor in mind as a type. And I usually pick good actors who aren't leading men yet, but could be, since I know nothing of lists. Guess I should replace John Krasinski cuz he's getting noticed for A Quiet Place. Naw, I'll keep him.

Jorge J Prieto

At the beginning, many years ago, I used to practice this , not anymore. Too distracting, but if it helps anyone here , go for it.

Victor Titimas

I don't usually have specific actors in mind, but there is a screenplay I have that I would dream of having Will Smith play the lead role...:))

Steven Harris Anzelowitz

The reason I posed this question to begin with is that STAR POWER has always had a great deal of influence if a film gets made. The case I made about ROBERT REDFORD. The writer sent him the script indicating he wrote it SPECIFICALLY for ROBERT REDFORD. MR. REDFORD was so impressed by this because no one had ever pitched him this way the film GOT MADE. As a screenwriter who wants to DIRECT and PRODUCE his own work I have a vested interest in any method that will get my script to the screen A.S.A.P. Now I understand all of you have your sides of the issue on this. And some of you well, it is the lounge and you want to play around with this thread question. And that's fine. I have been a member for 3 years and it goes with the territory. But forgive me if I am a bit focused on this film here. I am 66 years old and do not have the luxury of time as do some of my younger fellow "HAPPY WRITERS". So That is why I am looking for some personal experiences and opinions on how to go about getting a MOVIE STAR attached to my scripts. You pour your heart, soul & passion to get them made. So that is way I posed this thread question and I hope some "HAPPY WRITER" will have some useful suggestions to get a MOVIE STAR to say YES!! The only thing I am doing to reach this goal right now is every day on TWITTER I post the 300 MOVIE STARS that I would like to be in my films. I post my contact info, where to download the script(here on the log line page @stage 32) and I post my website for more information. Will do this till I get one YES!! Or I'm DEAD whichever comes first. Whatever it takes. I am sober. I am serious. I will keep going. Also one final thing for those who ARE in the same situation there is a book called 'BANKROLL': How to finance your independent film. By Tom Malloy.

He has raised millions of $$$'s to get his films made. That is all. Wherever you are in the world have a great Saturday. A special shout out to BENSONHURST!! CANARSIE out!!!

Dan MaxXx

Steven Harris Anzelowitz You left out an important detail about the writer who asked Redford to do "All is Lost". His Oscar nomination. Award winning films gets you in front of long lines, also winning a Sundance Award (Redford owns Sundance). Watch "Margin Call". The question is: who doesn't want to work with JC Chandor?

If it's easy to sign A-List actors, everybody would be doing it. Reality check.

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