Living in Los Angeles can sometimes be a surreal experience. Thursday evening, for example, instead of going to the first screening of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End as so many others across the nation were doing, my lovely wife Christine and I, as well as our new friend Donna Accardo, who worked with Chris to organize the Creative Voices series of lectures over at Pierce College, went over to the Writers Guild Theater to enjoy an interview with the film's screenwriters, my dear friends Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio. As I may have mentioned here before, aside from the Pirates trilogy, Ted and Terry are also responsible for such minor unheard of classics as Disney's Aladdin, The Mask of Zorro, Shrek, and Nation Treasure. They were being interviewed by film critic F. X. Feeney, himself no slouch as a screenwriter, having worked on The Big Brass Ring and Frankenstein Unbound.
The interview ran just under two hours, with the guys expounding on everything from the craft of writing, from pirate vernacular to finding an ogre's voice, to fighting to maintain one's creative vision against sometimes overwhelming forces, to the art of collaboration, to how to keep Keith Richards vertical while one is attempting to film a scene. It was a fun, lively, extremely entertaining evening, enjoyed greatly by everyone who was there. For those of you who missed it, Ted and Terry will be the second speakers in the aforementioned Creative Voices lecture series this fall at Pierce College. As we get closer to the event, I'll let those of you who live in the Southern California area (as well as those of you willing to shlep to the Southern California area to hear the guys) in on the details of when and where it's happening. It's free, and it's well worth your time.
Oh, and one more thing about living in Hollywood. Before the interview, Christine, Donna and I stopped across the street from the WGA Theater to grab a quick bite at a restaurant called Kate Mantellini's, a joint that's famous as a celebrity hangout. While we were there, famed film director Sidney Pollack (The Interpreter, Random Hearts, Sabrina, The Firm, Havana, Out of Africa, Tootsie, Absence of Malice, The Electric Horseman, Three Days of the Condor, The Yakuza, The Way We Were, Jeremiah Johnson, They Shoot Horse, Don't They? and many more) strolled past us, even as we noticed comedic actresses Conchata Ferrell (currently costarring on Two-and-a-Half Men) and Julie Hagerty (of the Airplane! movies and more TV and film roles than I can list) dining together at another table.
I love it when an old cliche turns out to be true.