This was quite frustrating, since our original script had actually been an adult black comedy.
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Although the final result made buckets of money, it was universally reviled - and our reputations were quite shaky. After this nonstop assault, we knew what it was like to be mercilessly ridiculed. We saw Ed as an Anti-Great Man, a loser who could never get things right. An Anti-Great Man presents enormous drama, because he is constantly irritating everybody. The conflict is inherent. The story suddenly presented fascinating ironic challenges. The process was exhilarating. We were writing from the heart, creating something strange and unusual.
We wanted to create a cast of fruitcakes, drug addicts and outcasts, dreamers on the absolute fringe, then make them loveable. At this point, we also brought in our old friend Michael Lehmann, cajoling him into getting involved as director. How apropos!
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But it made sense. We were in similar funks, and it seemed like a way to get back to our creative roots, by doing something small and independent. Knowing we would need help to get this crazy movie made, Michael suggested taking the treatment to Denise DiNovi, who had produced his film Heathers. At the time, she was partnered with Tim Burton, and his involvement as producer would surely help get financing.
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So Tim read the treatment - and flipped. Not only did he want to produce it, he wanted to direct it! After many discussions, he and Michael made a deal: they would swap roles. Tim could be director, contingent upon Ed Wood being his next film. We had a brief meeting with Mr. He loved our odd tone, a balance of funny and sad.
His only note was quite simple: be careful with the crossdressing. And if he liked it, he would be able to get it made. But was about to commit to directing another film, Mary Reilly. Our only hope was to get there first and knock it out.
The clock was ticking…. Working in a feverish isolation, seven days a week, we cranked out our opus. Tim is completely intuitive, a completely personal filmmaker, and we wanted it to strike him on a gut level. Both Tim and Ed used repertory companies of eccentric actors, and so we played up this angle. We introduced gothic visuals and bizarre locations whenever possible. Both Ed and Tim had worshipped the respective horror stars when they were young boys.
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Then they had met the actors and finally gotten to work with them at the end of their lives. This gave our movie an emotional foundation with which we felt Tim would empathize. As we wrote, we were faced with huge choices. First, we decided that most film biographies were boring. They seem compelled to follow the subject from cradle to grave. We felt this was too much to cover. The result often ends up quickly skimming the surface and being uninvolving.
Page 10, they meet. Act two, they struggle. End of act two, Bela dies. Act three, Ed has to figure out how to keep going, though Bela is gone.
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Next was deciding what events to keep, and what to leave out. It was extremely important to us to be accurate and true to these people - yet many elements were dropped, for storytelling reasons. We had nothing against these people. But we wanted to focus on the Ed and Bela symbiotic bond, and these folks would have diluted that. These decisions seemed fair to our sense of biopic ethics. His story gave us the freedom to get away with absurdities that a normal screenplay never could. How could anyone complain the script was too wacky and bizarre?
We could simply retort: It happened! Tor weighs pounds and is bald. Bela wrestles a broken octopus. All true! These people were so obscure that the information had just fallen off the face of the earth. We also compiled massive lists of Fun Facts.
The goal became to cram in as much real information as we could: Ed wears dentures… Cameraman Bill is colorblind… Criswell bought his Cadillac from Mae West… At times, this data is overwhelming, but nobody can accuse the script of skimping on details. Finally, we had to figure out how to create a satisfying third-act climax and resolution.
But unfortunately, Glen or Glenda came first. A fan of Buck Jones westerns and a decorated Marine who fought in World War II, he was also a cross-dresser with a lifelong fondness for pink angora sweaters.
Otis, who wrote the liner notes for the Alternative Cinema collection. In his later films, Wood proved himself to be an erotic renegade whose exploration of unconventional sexuality belied whatever schlocky sensibility was at play in his earlier works. Otis said. Even more surprising, Wood may not be getting his due as a pioneer of gay culture. Anthology will show it on Sept. At a time when being an original means nothing more than having an active Instagram account, Wood is a reminder of what it means to be a maverick with a camera.
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