Screenwriter Brian Helgeland talks THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, ROBIN HOOD, and UNTITLED COP MOVIE

     June 10, 2009

Brian Helgeland image.jpgI could have talked with screenwriter Brian Helgeland for an hour. That’s because he’s written some great scripts and worked for some amazing directors. Here are some of the films he’s written:

  • L.A. Confidential
  • Payback
  • Mystic River
  • Man on Fire
  • Conspiracy Theory
  • A Knight’s Tale

And that’s just part of his resume, as his new movie “The Taking of Pelham 123” arrives in theaters this weekend and he has four other films in production or post-production. Perhaps you’ve already heard of “Green Zone”, “Cirque du Freak”, “Robin Hood” and “Salt”. If you haven’t, they’re directed by Paul Greengrass, Paul Weitz, Ridley Scott, and Phillip Noyce. Not a bad list of directors.

Anyway, I got to speak with him for “The Taking of Pelham 123” and the film stars Denzel Washington and John Travolta and it’s a remake of the 1974 film that starred Walter Matthau and Robert Shaw. Here’s a link to the synopsis and six clips from the film.

During our interview we talked about why he wanted to write the remake, did he know Denzel would be in it, what’s it like to work for Tony Scott, does he still get studio notes and what does he do with them, what kind of research does he do, and we talked about his other projects like “Robin Hood” and how he’s going to direct a film later this year that’s currently called “Untitled Cop Movie”.

If you’re a fan of Brian’s writing or just want to hear about how he works, it’s a great interview. Take a look after the jump.

Of course I need to give a big thank you to Brian for agreeing to do the interview on camera and giving me so much of his time.

Brian Helgeland

  • What was it about the material that made him want to do it
  • When he started writing the film, did he know Denzel would be in it
  • When writing for Tony Scott, does he do anything special in the script
  • Does he still get Studio notes even at the level he’s at? He explains what you have to do with notes from actors and studio people.
  • Does he work all the time as he has a ton of scripts in production right now
  • We talk about how he has a Ridley Scott, Tony Scott and Paul Greengrass film getting ready to come out or being filmed right now
  • Talks about the research he did on the films
  • Robin Hood talk – what did he do to prepare for writing the film. Says Russell Crowe plays a war veteran coming home from the Crusades.
  • We talk about the previous Robin Hood movies
  • We talk about the pictures that leaked from the set. He explains the scene that was taking place.
  • Says the end of the movie has a huge battle.
  • Says he is going to direct a film at Sony that is currently untitled. He says the current title is “Untitled Cop Movie”.
  • Says it’s a buddy cop movie. When I asked if it’s like “Lethal Weapon”, he said it was “in that vein, but a little more serious than that.”
  • Wants to film at the end of the year and it’ll be rated R

please give the interview time to buffer

The Taking of Pelham 123 movie poster.jpg

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