October 11 – DUNE (2021)

Meet ONLINE from 7:00-10:00 PM Pacific Time on October 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay for the upcoming remake of DUNE.

LOGLINE: A duke oversees the spice mining operations on a dangerous, desert planet, battling the natives for the most valuable substance in the universe, a drug that extends human life.

THE WRITERS: Dune is based on the first half of the Nebula and Hugo award-winning 1965 novel by FRANK HERBERT and is expected to be followed by a sequel based on the second half of the book. Inspired partially by the author’s experiences with psychedelic mushrooms, Herbert wrote five sequels to Dune before his death in 1986. The novel was adapted by screenwriters ERIC ROTH and DENIS VILLENEUVE and JON SPAIHTS. Roth won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Forrest Gump and has been nominated four other times, most recently for the 2018 remake of A Star Is Born. He has also written the upcoming Martin Scorsese Western Killers of the Flower Moon. French Canadian Villeneuve, who also helmed this version of Dune, gained prominence as the director and co-writer of Incendies, which was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. He has also made the acclaimed thrillers Prisoners and Sicario and sci-fi films Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. Spaihts started his career when his sci-fi spec script Passengers appeared on the 2007 Black List; it was produced in 2016, starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. Spaihts’s other screenwriting credits include Ridley Scott’s Alien prequel, Prometheus, and Marvel’s Doctor Strange.

(registration deadline: Friday, October 8)

Registration in advance is required to attend the discussion, and includes a copy of the script sent to you in advance.

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Dune: Part One stars Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name). Also featured in the epic film are Rebecca Ferguson (The Greatest Showman), Oscar Isaac (Star Wars episodes VII-IX), Josh Brolin (The Goonies), Stellan Skarsgård (Erik Selvig in the MCU movies), professional wrestler Dave Bautista (Drax the Destroyer in the MCU), Zendaya (MJ in the most recent Spider-Man movies), Charlotte Rampling (Basic Instinct 2), and Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men). The film premiered September 3 at the Venice International Film Festival and will be released theatrically in the U.S. while simultaneously streaming on HBO Max beginning October 22.

Rated PG-13. 130 pages (9/24/18 draft). 155 minutes. Sci-Fi. Action/Adventure. Drama.

WENDELL WELLMAN will provide in-depth script analysis and lead our discussion. Wendell WellmanScreenwriter, actor, playwright, teacher, and author of A Writer’s Roadmap, Wendell has taught screenwriting at UCLA and UWV and has been a frequent guest moderator at StoryBoardDG.com’s Screenplay Development Group. As an actor, Wendell studied under Lee Strasberg and Peggy Feury at the Strasberg Institute and has appeared in episodic television, theater, and motion pictures, including prominent roles in the films The Klansman starring Lee Marvin and Richard Burton, Sudden Impact, Sommersby, and Street of Dreams. As a writer, he teamed up with Alex Lasker to adapt the novel Firefox for director Clint Eastwood. He also did additional work for Eastwood on the screenplay for Sudden Impact and wrote a final Dirty Harry project. Wendell also worked with the West End Theatre Group as co-founder and artistic director while continuing to alternate between acting and writing assignments. He is currently writing original feature scripts.

June 12 – The Mummy

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, June 9)

Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on June 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay THE MUMMY.

Logline: An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

Screenwriters: JON SPAIHTS first gained industry attention when his sci-fi spec script Passengers found a spot on the 2007 Black List. Produced nine years later with Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in the lead roles, the film was released in December of last year, making over $300 million. Before that, Spaihts had writing credits on Ridley Scott’s first Alien prequel, Prometheus (2012), and Marvel’s Doctor Strange, released a month before Passengers. The two franchise films made over $400 million and $600 million, respectively. We will be reading Sphait’s 7/11/13 draft of The Mummy. On the finished film, he shares a writing credit with CHRISTOPHER MCQUARRIE, who won an Academy Award in 1996 for his second produced feature screenplay, The Usual Suspects. The Mummy reboot marks his fifth outing with Tom Cruise, having also written the scripts for Valkyrie (2008) and Edge of Tomorrow (2014), and written and directed Jack Reacher (2012) and Mission: Impossible–Rogue Nation (2015).

Directed by Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of such hits as Transformers, Mission: Impossible III, and Star Trek, The Mummy launches the new Universal Monsters shared universe series of films that is expected to include re-imaginings of Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, and The Invisible Man, among others. In addition to Cruise, The Mummy stars Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service) in the title role, Annabelle Wallis (BBC’s Peaky Blinders), Jake Johnson (New Girl), Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson), and Academy Award winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) as Dr. Jekyll.

Producers and Production Companies: At age 34 in 1985, Sean Daniel became the youngest head of production in the history of Universal Pictures. After leaving the studio, he went on to produce the previous Mummy franchise for them through his company Alphaville Films, and is now producing the reboot franchise under his new banner, The Sean Daniel Company. Chris Morgan, screenwriter of several Fast and the Furious movies, and Kurtzman have been put in charge of development for the entire Universal Monsters shared universe series under Kurtzman’s new Secret Hideout banner, which is also producing the new series Star Trek: Discovery. Kurtzman’s former writing partner, Roberto Orci, also produced The Mummy via K/O Paper Products, the production company he started with Kurtzman.

Release Date: June 9 (Universal Pictures)

Rated PG-13. 120 minutes. 123 pages. Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Horror.

pamelajayesmithPAMELA JAYE SMITH will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. A mythologist and award-winning producer/director with over thirty years experience in features, TV, music videos, and more, Pamela is the author of five books, including The Power of the Dark Side: Creating Great Villains and Inner Drives: How to Write and Create Characters Using the Eight Classic Centers of Motivation. Her company, MYTHWORKS, offers consulting and coaching and, through her Pitch Proxy service, pitches writers’ projects at pitch festivals they cannot attend. Visit pamelajayesmith.com for more information.