Here’s my short, exclusive Q&A with Leslie Dixon, screenwriter of Limitless, The Thomas Crown Affair, Mrs. Doubtfire, Hairspray, Freaky Friday, The Heartbreak Kid and the upcoming Tower Heist.
As you may know from my other posts about this film, I’ve been following it since its inception. I was the reader who covered the source novel “The Dark Fields” (by Alan Glynn) at Miramax Films (I loved it) and they acquired it, eventually hiring screenwriter Leslie Dixon to adapt it after she had discovered the book on her own and came to them with her pitch.
Leslie insisted that she be able to write it with no input from development executives and she was smart enough to get it in her contract that she would get the rights to the film should it fall apart at Miramax, which is exactly what happened when the Weinsteins left the company. So she took the project on her own, shepherding it for years as producer and screenwriter.
In anticipation of the film’s opening (TODAY – GO SEE IT!), I emailed my friend, the glamorous and legendary Leslie Dixon, with a few questions:
Why should screenwriters see/support this film?
Leslie Dixon: Screenwriters should see this film because it was written without going through the studio development mill. There is amorality afloat here that might not’ve gotten through the “process” otherwise. Support my fantasy, that we can do it without them!
What makes a great thriller and how does Limitless embody those traits?
Leslie Dixon: This is not technically a thriller. It could slop into that category, but there is lots of dark comedy, too. It’s propulsive and edgy like a thriller, I guess.
How do you rate this experience in comparison to some of your other films?
Leslie Dixon: This experience was rough. Money was tight. It think it looks like an 80 million dollar film, which it most definitely was not.
What did you do as a producer as opposed to the screenwriter and was it difficult working with the director when you’re trying to protect your script?
Leslie Dixon: The director and I argued, and yet squeaked through the experience with mutual respect. I had more contractual say-so on this movie than most, and yet it doesn’t serve the whole to try and enforce it — better to try to find common ground than hit the contractual detonator. At the end of the day, the director must be respected.
Is there a photo of you online somewhere so my readers will know what you look like? I don’t care when it was taken, it just punches up a blog post to have some kind of picture.
Leslie Dixon: I don’t fucking know where this photo is!
Leslie, you forced me to do a google image search and this was the second image that came up for your name so I have to go with this one…
But seriously, folks, there’s an extended video interview with Leslie here that’s worth watching.
BOTTOM LINE: Go see Limitless to support a screenwriter who demanded to make a film without studio input and got it made!
Good luck and happy writing,
I saw the film last night and was very impressed. It was a fun watch. Is her screenplay available for a read?