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Screenwriters From the Year’s Most Acclaimed Films Talk About Their Craft

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BEVERLY HILLS, CA - NOVEMBER 09: Director Pedro Almodovar (R) and Antonio Banderas attend Pedro Almodovar book signing for "The Pedro Almodovar Archives" at Taschen on November 9, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)
Screenwriter and director Pedro Almodovar (R) and Antonio Banderas at signing for ‘The Pedro Almodovar Archives’ at Taschen on November 9, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California. (Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

 

As we enter awards season, The Hollywood Reporter has rounded up a collection of screenwriters who are bound to soon be collecting hardware. (Or at least bundles of nominations.) They include Allison Schroeder (Hidden Figures), Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals), Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea), Noah Oppenheim (Jackie), Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water), and Pedro Almodóvar (Julieta). Together, they’re responsible for writing some of the gems in what turned out to be a surprisingly strong year for film.

It’s an impressively diverse collection of screenwriters. Schroeder and Oppenheim are both under 40 and just starting to draw attention for their work. Sheridan recently turned to writing after an acting career that saw him play Deputy Chief David Hale on TV’s Sons of Anarchy. Lonergan has written and directed films including You Can Count on Me (for which he received an Oscar nomination in 2001). Ford is a fashion icon who only recently turned to writing and directing films in his spare time. And the Spaniard Almodóvar is one of the most celebrated filmmakers alive, first winning international attention back in the 1980s and earning an Oscar for 2002’s Talk to Her screenplay.

Together, they discuss everything from dream projects (one wants to write a Bond movie) to whether directing your own work really benefits it. The talk gets particularly interesting when it comes to collaborating with other writers. (Lonergan recalls isolating himself with a group of friends to create a joint theater work: “We almost killed each other.”)

To read more highlights, click here. A full version of the roundtable will air on the Sundance Channel on February 12, 2017. Below, watch one of our favorite clips: Sheridan explaining how acting taught him to loathe clunky dialogue.