Screenwriter John August Slams Jessica Alba's Scriptwriting Critcism
11.08.10 by Ryan
Jessica Alba's not making friends in the screenwriting world. Her recent interview in the December issue of Elle magazine drew ire from scribblers including screenwriter John August (Go, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). The Fantastic Four actress gave some frank commentary about her career in the interview, admitting that she hasn't "been swimming in the deep end" with some of her latest projects. And once she turned her commentary towards the craft of scriptwriting, the actress exposed herself to the swift jabs of the mighty pen.
Good actors, never use the script unless it’s amazing writing. All the good actors I’ve worked with, they all say whatever they want to say.
August took exception to Alba's comments in his blog, offering his reasons why her comments were incorrect.
Scripts aren’t just the dialogue. Screenplays reflect the entire movie in written form, including those moments when you don’t speak. Do you know the real reason we hold table readings in pre-production? So the actors will read the entire script at least once.
Following your logic, you’ve never been in a movie with both good actors and amazing writing. That may be true, but it might hurt the feelings of David Wain, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller.
You’re saying your co-stars who delivered their lines as written are not "good actors." Awkward.
You’re setting dangerous expectations. So if an aspiring actor wishes to be "good," she should say whatever she wants to say? That’s pretty terrible advice.
Screenwriters can be your best friends. We are pushovers for attractive people who pay attention to us. I wrote that bathtub scene in Big Fish because Jessica Lange made brief eye contact with me. So if you’re not getting great writing — and honestly, you’re not — ask to have lunch with the screenwriter. I’ve seen you on interviews. You’re charming. That charm could work wonders.
August claims that he has to believe that Alba "was misquoted, or excerpted in some unflattering way," and that his sole reason for calling her out was "so we can all hopefully learn something."
Alba appears next in Little Fockers on December 22, and Rodriguez's Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in August of 2011. August wrote the initial draft of Tim Burton's upcoming adaptation of Dark Shadows.