Congrats to 2011 Script Competition alums Joe Rosenbaum & Louis Rosenberg! Their Finalist script Paper Trail (now retitled as The Manuscript) is now in pre-production starring Morgan Freeman and Scott Eastwood with Nick Cassavetes directing their cat-and-mouse style thriller. Here’s what they had to say about AFF and their project:
I wrote my first script a long time ago, right out of college. Like everyone’s first script, it was terrible. And I remember my friends asking me what I would do on the off-chance that it didn’t sell for millions of dollars. I told everyone the same thing, “I’ll just write another and another…” and of course I had no idea at the time how right I would be. If I remember correctly, The Manuscript was the 4th screenplay on which Louis and I reached FADE OUT together, and my sixth overall, which is the exact number of scripts that our screenwriting teacher once told us would qualify a person as a “real screenwriter.”
One of my favorite things about the Austin Film Festival is that – unique among festivals that I know of – it truly is a celebration of the writer. (Michael Arndt’s presentation on endings was perhaps the best lecture on writing I’ve ever attended, and my writing professors in college were some of the most prominent novelists in the nation. In fact, I transcribed Arndt’s entire speech for Louis who couldn’t make it to the festival). In contrast, we’ve found that in the real world, away from the friendly confines of the festival, the new writer’s best chance to survive the emotional roller coaster that we’ve been on for the past few years is to always focus on writing the next one.
As you can imagine, we were thrilled when we heard that Morgan Freeman had read and loved our script. It’s humbling to realize that an actor of Morgan Freeman’s caliber will soon bring this character we created to life. And of course, once you have someone of Mr. Freeman’s stature attached to the script, momentum can start to build quickly. So, it’s been a little bit surreal to see talent like Nick Cassavetes and Scott Eastwood join the production.
Scott read the script in late 2017, before Pacific Rim 2 came out (and went straight to #1 at the box office) so it’s been incredibly rewarding to see him express his excitement about the material throughout the promotion for Pacific Rim. Scott told AOL that he “followed his gut” in deciding to shoot The Manuscript next, and with so many opportunities available to him right now, we’re grateful that he believes in our spec script enough to make it a priority.