THR's Writer Roundtable: 6 Top Scribes Talk Standing Up to Clint Eastwood, Dealing with Rewrites and Being Fired by Your Wife

 Art Streiber

Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian reveal who did what on "Moneyball" and Eric Roth explains his fights with Michael Mann as Hollywood's star screenwriters dish about their craft in the third of THR's annual awards season series discussions.


THR: Wait -- do you all agree film is the one American indigenous art form? 

Black: Jazz, man. 

Almodovar: It's a difficult question. It was not invented here. But the major industry is the American industry.

THR: He said art form. Not industry.

Sorkin: It's a big business too, but we still make very good movies here. So do a lot of other people, but I think we have every right to claim this as ours.

THR: Chaplin, Hitchcock, Erich von Stroheim, the French new wave. There are very strong arguments against this being the American indigenous art form.

Almodovar: Now I don't think it's an art form here, though there are a lot of exceptions.

Sorkin: But excuse me, you named some people who were not born in America but came here to make movies. Charlie Chaplin did not stay in England and make movies, and neither did Alfred Hitchcock.

Roth: But don't you think the key word is "indigenous"? Obviously, it's an art form all over the world. But indigenous is what made it unique to America.  

THR: Lance, did you ever want to do anything other than write? You've had success very young.

Black: Oh, yeah. I was in theater for a long time. I grew up in theater as an outlet, because I was so shy. My mom thought, "Oh, maybe we'll break him of his  shyness problem and put him in theater." Instead, I met a bunch of fabulous gay people and it took me in a different direction.

STORY: Dustin Lance Black Debuts Prop. 8 Play in New York

THR: Were you offended when then-Oscars producer Brett Ratner said, "rehearsal's for fags"? 

Black: Absolutely. Of course. I think a lot of people were, not just gay people. But I also read the letter he put out [to apologize] and I found it incredibly moving. So, I'll go on record: I absolutely forgave him. I hope he does the things he said he's doing in that letter. Those are learning experiences. We all mess up. It's what you do on the other side that counts.



The Hollywood Reporter continues its annual series of exclusive discussions among the year's most compelling film talents. As awards season unfolds, look for upcoming roundtables with actors, producers and animation filmmakers, and go to The Reporter's website to watch videos of the full discussions.

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