fincherfanatic.com: On the website of Freeman's production company you are named as one of several screenwriters on the project. Can you comment on the level of your involvement, and whether you are still actively developing that screenplay?
Scott Brick: My involvement began about ten years ago as a consultant on the project, they'd had some work done on a script but weren't happy with it, and brought me onboard to see what would have to be done in order to fix it. I told them I thought the best thing would be a Page One rewrite, and when they agreed, I asked if I could have the job. They went for it, and I wrote my initial draft in November 1999, I believe it was, then came back onboard about five years later. By that point they'd had a few other drafts made, and I think they were hoping I could consolidate the better parts of each into some kind of cohesive draft, maybe a production draft, though that wound up not happening. It's been about five years since I've had any active involvement, so I'm really not sure what's going on with it now.
fincherfanatic.com: I am currently reading the novel to get an idea of the difficulties in getting a script (which is what Freeman cites as the main reason, why the project is not moving forward). Can you give an opinion on what makes a film adaptation of the material so difficult?
Scott Brick: The strength of Clarke's writing is that he never broke the laws of physics, he wouldn't even come close. Just as an example, [at the end of the book there's a scene] that essentially takes several days. Well, in film, you need events to unfold quickly, you have to compress the timeline, so them running for days just isn't going to work, you pretty much need them to move a lot quicker, especially if there's some looming danger - something that'll add to a film's climax, right? But if you sign on to work on a Clarke story, you realize you just can't break the rules. I once suggested something that would speed up [that scene], what I thought might be a rather elegant solution, though in retrospect I think it was somewhat silly, just born of desperation, right? Well, Revelations asked Clarke, and he was very polite. He basically said, you can do that, but not if you follow the rules of physics. At which point, we dropped it. We'd rather fail within the laws of physics, and Clarke's good graces, than succeed outside of them, you know?
fincherfanatic.com: So, you said you were consulting on the project before you were hired as a writer. How exactly did that all come about?
Scott Brick: Well, the funny thing is that some folks there at the company had suggested me as the right man for the job, they'd told Lori McCreary that she should get me to do the script, but her response was, "Only if he asks for it. If he asks, then he's ready for it; if he doesn't, then he isn't." It wasn't just a big event in my career, that wound up being a huge lesson for me just in the way I approach my life.
fincherfanatic.com: What else do you remember were the greatest challenges you were facing on this project?
Scott Brick: Adapting other people's stories has its advantages and disadvantages. You're working with a great partner, a really strong partner, who's already laid the story out for you, yet you have to then realign the story points and make sure they happen in an order that fits your basic filmic timeframe. It's tougher than it sounds. So maybe you get frustrated with the process, figure you'll do something original next time around so you don't have those problems, but then you get hit with that damn blank page (or screen), and you're suddenly nostalgic for that former partner who was so kind as to work out the story for you beforehand. The grass is always greener, right?
fincherfanatic.com: Did you have the chance to meet with Fincher and work on your script with him?
Scott Brick: I almost met David, we were due to meet at a story meeting, but one of his kids got sick that day and he had to cancel, then soon after that he began making another film, they hired someone else to do the next Rama draft, and my chance to meet him had passed. I hope I get to one day, we'll see. I'd truly love to, simply because of how much I love his body of work. I still think Se7en is one of the greatest films I've ever seen, it's so freakin' tight, and I love The Game as well, that's just a terrific picture. I mean, even looking at his earliest work, one glance at Alien 3 and you know he's the perfect choice to direct Rama. I still live in hope he'll manage to do it one day. What I love about his work is that his movies always feature visually stunning imagery, but that doesn't make him unique; there's another director out there (who I'll avoid naming) whose visuals are every bit as stunning, yet that guy's movies are all emotionally bankrupt. Not so with Fincher, his imagery is even more impressive because you never lose sight of the emotional core of his characters and the emotional core of their story. I just marvel at them sometimes.
fincherfanatic.com: What are you working on at the moment?
Scott Brick: It's funny, the project I picked up immediately after I wrote my draft of Rama ten years ago was an original idea of mine, a supernatural thriller set in a little small town in Connecticut that's based on a real-life murder that happened there in the 1700s. Well, I never liked how the screenplay turned out, I was really frustrated with it, but after setting it aside for years, I decided I could fix whatever problems I had with it by turning it into a novel. Whatever imagery I couldn't work out, I could fix in prose, right? Well, now that I'm close to finishing the novel, I've been approached by some folks about doing it as a screenplay. It made me laugh, how cyclical life can be.
So that's what the early digging brought to light. Big thanks to writer Scott Brick for taking the time to answer these fincherfanatic questions, and the best of luck for his 18th century thriller – as novel and flick! As for my advances in reading "Rendezvous With Rama", I am about two thirds through, and I can tell you, I can already see what an amazing feat that was, is and will be to bring this story to the screen. I'll write a more detailed opinion once I am through. And of course: I will stay on track and continue to try and get a status update on this project for you guys.
And of course I didn't find this until after I did the interview: I am sure many of you remember the fantastically addictive "a fincher news site" from way back in time. Well, Scott Brick answered their questions about the development of RWR some whopping six ago. Brick keeps a PDF copy of that on his site, and let me tell you it makes for a great and insightful read.