Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy

It has been nearly three months since the tragic bombings rocked the city of Boston during its annual marathon, so there will be a film commemorating the event, just in case anyone’s memory was starting to get fuzzy. Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy, the writing duo behind another heartwarming Boston tale, The Fighter, have obtained the rights to Boston Strong, a yet-to-be published book by Boston Herald reporters Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge. The book chronicles the horrific events that took place during the marathon and in the aftermath, as well as the subsequent manhunt for the two Tsarnaev brothers, the criminals believed to be responsible for the bombings.

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Eric Goes West

Why Watch? It’s not hard to imagine why this short film is going around like free whiskey. It’s shot with an eye for detail and interesting angles while pulling off some difficult scenes in difficult territory. Make no mistake: shooting in water is really, really hard. But as screenwriter John August points out, director Dee Austin Robertson had access to a boat, so she utilized that unique connection/setting in order to break a few rules and create something that looks far more expensive than it actually is. In the movie, Eric (Blaise Miller) sets sail alone on his birthday, ruminating on a relationship gone to pot and drinking liberally. Fortunately, there’s a storm heading his way. Eric Goes West is a success on every level. The script features some simple twists on convention (particular his new friend) with a healthy dose of cynical comedy. It’s not exactly morbid. Not black comedy. More like dark gray. It also doesn’t flinch when it comes to shocking just a bit while pouring Eric into a Harold Lloyd style farce where the consequence is drowning. A smart, perfect balance of conflicting tones. Miller really shines here as well because without an interesting actor, the whole exercise would be boring. Fortunately, he nails the part and builds a character out of a few lines, some visual gags and a nice bit of irony at the end. Godspeed, Fatty Patty. Godspeed. What will it cost? Only 8 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films.  

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Walt Disney Pictures has just dished out plenty of clams to pay for the rights to the bestselling book The Finest Hours (reports put the deal in the six to seven-figure ranges, which translates to a lot of lobster rolls). The fact-based book, written by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias, was published in 2009 and recounts the tale of a Coast Guard rescue attempted off the coast of Cape Cod in 1952. The rescue involved two oil tankers so damaged by waves during a blizzard that they were actually ripped in half. The Coast Guard launched no less than four different rescue attempts, including a sort of last ditch effort that included the use of wooden lifeboats. The story sounds like a combination of The Perfect Storm and that terrible Coast Guard film that inexplicably starred Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner (I am speaking of The Guardian, a nightmare on the high seas surely to be topped only by Battleship), which basically means that it sounds really excellent. The studio has already set up Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson to pen the script (the pair most recently contributed to the scripting of The Fighter with Scott Silver and Keith Dorrington). While Johnson made his feature debut with The Fighter, Tamasy saw a real change of pace when he took up the project, because he’s the man who invented Air Bud. That’s really all you need to know about the guy – he invented the character of Air Bud and […]

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If anyone out there wants to see Will Smith’s house knocked down, his body covered in boils, and his sanity loosening from his grip as he scrapes at his raw skin with broken bits of pottery, the opportunity might be on the horizon. The Oscar-nominated screenwriter team of Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (The Fighter) wrote the script for Joe – a modern retelling of the Job story that you may have learned about in Sunday school while wondering why the teacher was telling you all those horrible, terrible, disgusting things. Tamasy went on Eric Snider and Jeff Bayer’s Movie B.S. Podcast and spoke a bit about the movie. In his own words, “It’s about a man [living] the American dream. He’s got the nice house, white picket fence, great kids, great wife, nice cars. God and the Devil get together every thousand years to bet on a man’s life, and the fate of the world is at stake. What all of us get hit with in a lifetime, this man gets hit with in a week, and it’s about whether or not he can still pick himself up from that and survive it. It’s a dramedy. At its heart, it’s a comedy, but it’s got, obviously, a real dramatic core to it.” Sony will be developing this, but Will Smith is attached to a lot of flicks right now, and no single attachment really means anything anymore. This would be an insane return to acting for the Fourth of […]

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This article is part of our Oscar Week Series, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. As I mentioned in the Best Adapted Screenplay post, the process of making a film involves thousands of moving parts and pieces from the actors to the director to the caterers and beyond, but arguably the most integral aspect of the process is the script. I say arguable, but I’m only being polite. The script is the most important part of a film… it’s responsible for the words coming out of the actors’ mouths, for the shifts in story, for the very tale itself. Actors bring it to life and the director makes it a visual reality, but it all starts from the script. Some folks may argue otherwise, but an original screenplay is far tougher to write than one adapted from a previously existing source. The heavy lifting has all been done for you when the story beats are already laid out in a book, play, or previous film. An original screenplay demands the writer create and craft everything from scratch, from the characters to the story, and the ones who get it right deserve a bigger statuette than their “Adapted Screenplay” contemporaries. And yes, I’m kidding. Anyone who completes a screenplay, whether it be an original or an adaptation, whether it win an award or not, whether it gets produced or not… you have my respect and awe. The nominees are listed below with my prediction […]

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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