Salt: the tortuous route from script to screen

It’s not more than an average action film. But still it was an interesting scriptwriting exercise for me because I had read one of the earlier drafts of the screenplay circulating in the net. It gave me an opportunity to see the changes and understand how the Hollywood film industry (more specifically the Hollywood creative executive) thinks. What makes some one change a screenplay when they have bought it in first place because it is good? And are there some parameters regarding what needs to be changed? If what I read about Ridley Scott’s Robinhood is correct, there are none.

What are the major changes that occurred between earlier drafts and the movie? 1st and foremost thing is that original salt is a male character who turned into a female in the movie. Heard different stories about that. One is that Angelina Jolie’s star power forced the tailoring. Second is that Tom Cruise was already doing a spy movie (Knight and day) because of which he declined himself. But this gender change doesn’t really change the script on itself much.

The early draft

The story revolves around E. Salt, a CIA operative who is given the task of interrogating a defected Russian spy. During the course of the interview (which is observed by higher officials), it turns out that a Russian mole has penetrated USA who have reached the country 20 years back. This Russian kid was handpicked at an early age, given intensive training, brain washed with Soviet ideology, taught English before Russian so that even his American accent is perfect and then was planted for an original identity inside USA. This kid is now grown up, and after infiltrating the CIA, is waiting for the word to go. The defected Russian agrees to give them the name of the spy. And he gives the name of Salt! What follows is a wild chase where Salt is hounded by CIA according to whom he is even trying to assassinate the American president. Now the key question is- Who is Salt? Is he a Russian super spy? Or is he being framed? The whole movie is about the identity of Salt and much more than that, its about the chase. Though there is something about an assassination attempt on American President, it is a much more grounded element. Salt is trying to take his wife and child out of the country. The climax involves a spectacular sequence in a highway involving trucks and aircrafts.

The movie

What are the differences between the earlier draft and the movie? Continue reading

To tweet or not to tweet?

The question is: to tweet or not to tweet?

Well I resisted the temptation until now. The main reason was that I didn’t want to leave a trail of half finished/ abandoned ventures behind me. I am having enough trouble updating this blog. And that too while trying to maintain a steady trickle of writing. I was sure that twitter would lead to another chain reaction of surfing, reading tweets, finding friends etc which would put another dent in my time. Strongest thing in favour of twitter was that it is much more easier to do. How much trouble is it to do 140 letters? And obviously the networking opportunities that it offer. If I had to utilise those opportunities I had to jump into the bandwagon before its too late. I am quite sure that the tweeting frenzy will also dip down one day just like blogging revolution did. Only thing is that tweeting is more easy than blogging so I guess it will last a little longer. So if I had to take the plunge, I had to do it now.

With a final push from a writer friend, I finally started my account on twitter three days back. I have given permission to myself to abandon it if  feel bored with the ‘140 word sweet nothings.’ And not to take it too seriously or invest too much time on it. My twitter account is this.

Photo by luc legay