I got my hands on the screenplay when it was listed as one of the Black List scripts back in December 2007. A few pages in and I went, shit, that uses one plot element from my first written script that I had thought to be original! A few more pages and something else happens and I was like, dammit, that's another plot element from the second script that I've written! (I've only ever written two feature screenplay.) So obviously I devoured the whole screenplay in one intense read and I have to say, it's well-written, paced very tautly, and made full use of its high concept and makes for an intelligent Hollywood thriller.
In fact, if it was made into a film, it would've been the best Hollywood thriller in years.
So when it was revealed that the breakout Brit director Duncan Jones is to direct, and that the cast includes Gyllenhaal, Monaghan, Farmiga and Wright ... well, the film's all set. Definitely a must-watch when it comes out.
THE WAY BACK
I interned at a production office in West Hollywood for a few months between 2007-08. Around that time I read the amazing if controversial true story of Slavomir Rawicz, as described in the book "The Long Walk", where he recounts how he was imprisoned in a Soviet gulag because he was a Polish officer, and later escaped with a few prisoners and eventually made their way to safety after crossing thousands of miles of wintry landscape, wet forests, and unforgiving deserts. It made for a great adventure story, and I checked to make sure it wasn't made into a film yet. It was not.
So I pitched it to one of the executives at the production office, who agreed to read it. He then brought it up at the next meeting with the CEO and pitched it then, but the CEO thought it was similar to Defiance and dismissed it fairly quickly. I didn't know what else to say to defend it, and so when the executive looked at me to add to the pitch I had nothing to say and just nodded. So that was that.
And now it's a major motion picture from the director of The Truman Show and Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World starring Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan and Ed Harris.
Anyway, I mentioned that the story was controversial: there were some voices of concern that the story was fake and Rawicz simply made up the story. It wasn't conclusively proven either way. From a cinematic point of view though, no matter - it's a compelling story, and from the trailer it seems promising, though I don't know how many people would go for such a movie nowadays.