Sunday, February 08, 2009

Prime Passage: Minghella on Minghella

The late great screenwriter/director Anthony Minghella in conversation on the topic of generating a screenplay:

"I play the piano a lot when I'm writing. I listen to music a lot. But just as you have to make peace with your voice, you have to make peace with your process as well. When I look at the madness of the way I write, it would be very easy to get enormously irritated. Even if I did one page a day, that's only 115 to 120 days of work. So, why does it take me a year and a half? What is going on with me? But I realize that the time spent reading the Book of Job for a day is not specious. It's because that's where my own particular journey requires me to be. Or when I'm spending two days examining the Smithsonian collection of early American folk music, it's not just indulgence. I know there's going to be a clue there somewhere that's going to feed the film. When I was writing The English Patient I walked into a record store because I wanted to listen to Hungarian music, and found a disc by a band called Musikaz. I put the disc on and the second or third track I listened to was called 'Szerelem, Szerelem' and that became the voice of the film for me. And I listened to that music repeatedly throughout. But I have to give myself permission to do that. There have been times when I haven't and I got very exasperated with myself and with everybody, and I didn't work well."

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