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Even accomplished playwrights struggle with writing a film script sometimes.
So says playwright-filmmaker Martin McDonagh, who wrote and directed the crime comedy Seven Psychopaths, which stars Colin Farrell as a struggling screenwriter who inadvertently becomes entangled in the Los Angeles criminal underworld after his oddball friends (Sam Rockwell) and (Christopher Walken) kidnap a gangster’s (Woody Harrelson) beloved Shih Tzu.
“It just took an awful lot longer to get my head around writing a script because it can go to so many different places in the course of a page whereas a play, eight pages, 10 pages of scenes is really just a course of conversations,” McDonagh told The Hollywood Reporter in the THR TIFF Video Lounge at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Farrell — who reunited with McDonagh, his In Bruges director, for Psychopaths — adds that that there’s also a big difference between acting in the theater and in film.
“I think film is a director’s medium … and theater is both a writer’s and an actor’s medium that’s heavily influenced by a director’s touch,” he says. “But in film, you ideally trust your director and can give your director a lot of … options. [In the theater] you can control your performance from start to end, you get to go on an arc … and you get to reinvent each afternoon.”
As for how McDonagh’s movies differ from other filmmakers, “his movies are more dialogue-driven,” says Rockwell.
Seven Psychopaths hits theaters Oct. 12 via CBS Films.
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