September 11 – Rebel in the Rye

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, September 8)

Meet on the Fox Studios backlot on September 11th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay REBEL IN THE RYE.

Logline: The true story of how J.D. Salinger came to write The Catcher in the Rye.

Screenwriter: Known for his roles as Jonathan on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Doyle on Gilmore Girls, DANNY STRONG launched his screenwriting career with a pair of HBO movies about the 2000 and 2008 elections. Recount earned Strong a WGA award and an Emmy nomination, while Game Change won him his second WGA trophy, two Emmys, and a Peabody. For the big screen he wrote the script for Lee Daniels’ The Butler and had a hand in adapting the third and fourth Hunger Games movies from the novel Mockingjay. Strong is also co-creator, executive producer, and writer for the hit series Empire. Rebel in the Rye, which marks Strong’s feature film directorial debut, was adapted from the non-fiction book J.D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawensky, which Strong is said to have optioned with his own money.

Rebel in the Rye stars Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy, X-Men franchise) as the struggling author, Zoey Deutch (Vampire Academy, Why Him?) as love interest Oona O’Neill, Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) as mentor Whit Burnett, and Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, The People v. O.J. Simpson) as Salinger’s agent.

Producers and Production Companies: Writer/director Danny Strong also serves as a producer on Rebel in the Rye along with Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Silver Linings Playbook), Jason Shuman (Middle Men, Little Black Book) and the team of Molly Smith and identical twin brothers Thad and Trent Luckinbill under their Black Label Media banner (La La Land, Sicario, Demolition). Rebel is the first production credited in IMDb to West Madison Entertainment, a production company recently founded by executive producer Christina Papagjika, an associate producer on Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

Release Date: September 15 (IFC Films). The film premiered this January at the Sundance Film Festival.

Rated PG-13. 106 minutes. 97 pages. Drama, Biopic.

Wendell WellmanWENDELL WELLMAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Trained at the Actors Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Wendell has acted in feature films, television, and on stage. He has taught screenwriting at UCLA and wrote FIREFOX, SUDDEN IMPACT, and the final Dirty Harry script for Clint Eastwood. He recently completed adapting the novel The River Journey by Robert Nathan and is currently working on setting up his screenplay Top Hat. Wendell’s book, A Writer’s Roadmap, is available at Amazon.

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January 9 – Miss Sloane

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, January 6)

Miss Sloane movie posterMeet on the Fox Studios backlot on December 12th for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay MISS SLOANE.

Logline: A ruthless lobbyist faces off against the powerful gun lobby in an attempt to pass gun control legislation.

First-time British screenwriter JONATHAN PERERA wrote Miss Sloane while working as an elementary schoolteacher in South Korea after a BBC News interview with corrupt D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff inspired him to explore the untapped milieu of the behind-the-scenes power players pulling the strings in American politics for his first-ever attempt at writing a screenplay. The original spec script found representation through a query letter and landed on the 2015 Black List. Perera is managed by Scott Carr of Management SGC and the script was repped by Peter Dodd and Carolyn Sivitz at UTA.

Directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love). Starring Jessica Chastain (The Help, Zero Dark Thirty), Alison Pill (The Newsroom), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Dr. Who), John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun), Michael Stuhlbarg (Trumbo, Steve Jobs), Mark Strong (The Imitation Game), and Sam Waterston (Law & Order).

Producers and Production Companies: Perera’s manager took the property to executive producer Patrick Chu at FilmNation (Arrival, The Founder) where Ben Browning (Passengers) produced alongside Kris Thykier (Kick-Ass) of Archery Pictures. EuropaCorp (Taken franchise), the France-based international distributor co-founded by Luc Besson (The Professional), picked up Miss Sloane for distribution after a bidding war in Toronto.

Release Date: Opened in limited release on November 25th, followed by a wide release on December 9th. If you have not seen it yet and plan to go to the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated R. 132 minutes. 123 pages. Drama, Thriller, Political Thriller.

Wendell WellmanWENDELL WELLMAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Trained at the Actors Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Wendell has acted in feature films, television, and on stage. He has taught screenwriting at UCLA and wrote FIREFOX, SUDDEN IMPACT, and the final Dirty Harry script for Clint Eastwood. He recently completed adapting the novel The River Journey by Robert Nathan and is currently working on setting up his screenplay Top Hat. Wendell’s book, A Writer’s Roadmap, is available at Amazon.

March 14 – 10 Cloverfield Lane

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Friday, March 11)

10 Cloverfield LaneMeet on the Fox Studios backlot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE.

Room meets Cloverfield. Waking up from a car accident, a young woman finds herself in the basement of a man who says he saved her from a chemical attack that has left the outside uninhabitable. Fearing she was really abducted, she tries to escape, despite the dangers she might face outside.

The original microbudget spec script, The Cellar, which is the draft we will be discussing, was written by Josh Campbell & Matthew Stuecken. Campbell, who was the editor for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, is currently writing an English-language remake of John Woo’s The Killer. Stuecken was previously an associate producer on G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Their contained thriller, The Cellar, was on the Tracking Board’s 2012 Hit List.

Paramount Pictures bought the script for their specialty label, Insurge (Project Almanac, Area 51), and Bad Robot (Star Trek). Academy Award nominated screenwriter Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) was hired to rewrite the script, which became a “blood relative” of Bad Robot’s found-footage hit, Cloverfield.

10 Cloverfield Lane stars scream queen Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Final Destination 3), John Goodman (Roseanne, Trumbo, Red State), and Tony award-winning Broadway star John Gallagher, Jr. (Spring Awakening, American Idiot).

Produced by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Lindsey Weber. Executive produced by Bad Robot co-founder Bryan Burk.

Release Date: March 11 (Paramount). If you plan to see the movie before our meeting, reading the script before watching the film is advised.

Rated PG-13. 105 minutes. 95 pages. Sci-Fi, Thriller.

WendellWellmanWENDELL WELLMAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Trained at the Actors Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Wendell has acted in feature films, television, and on stage. He has taught screenwriting at UCLA and wrote FIREFOX, SUDDEN IMPACT, and the final Dirty Harry script for Clint Eastwood. He recently completed adapting the novel The River Journey by Robert Nathan and is currently working on setting up his screenplay Top Hat. Wendell’s book, A Writer’s Roadmap, is available at Amazon.

April 13 – CHILD 44

RegisterNow(registration deadline: Monday, April 6)

Child44UKMeet on the 20th Century Fox studio lot for an in-depth analysis and discussion of the screenplay CHILD 44.

The thrilling hunt for a serial child killer in the Stalin-era Soviet Union, adapted from the award-winning 2008 novel by Tom Rob Smith — the first in a trilogy following disgraced military police investigator Leo Demidov — and inspired by the gruesome, real-life crimes of the Red Ripper.

Screenwriter: Richard Price, Academy Award nominee for The Color of Money, WGA Award winner for The Wire. His other credits include Shaft, Ransom, Clockers (adapted from his novel), Mad Dog and Glory, and Sea of Love.

Director: Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, Snabba Cash)

Producers: Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Black Hawk Down), Greg Shapiro (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty).

Starring: Tom Hardy (Inception, Locke), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight trilogy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy)

Release date: April 17 (Summit Entertainment)

Rated R. 137 minutes. 132 pages. Crime, Drama, Thriller

WendellWellmanWENDELL WELLMAN will provide in-depth analysis and lead our discussion. Trained at the Actors Studio and the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, Wendell has acted in feature films, television, and on stage. He has taught screenwriting at UCLA and wrote FIREFOX, SUDDEN IMPACT, and the final Dirty Harry script for Clint Eastwood. He is currently adapting the novel The River Journey by Robert Nathan. Wendell’s book, A Writer’s Roadmap, is available at Amazon.