HOW TO BE A HOL­LY­WOOD WRITER

WE TALK TO SONS OF AN­AR­CHY CRE­ATOR KURT SUT­TER ABOUT THE SE­CRETS TO SCREEN­WRIT­ING SUC­CESS.

GQ (Australia) - - THE SOURCE -

Kurt Sut­ter is do­ing the Tin­sel­town thing all wrong. Firstly, he has a big mouth – vent­ing about Emmy Award judges, Glee and Justin Bieber, among oth­ers. He’s also a re­cov­er­ing drug ad­dict who only started out in the in­dus­try in his for­ties. Yet here he is, now 55, and one of the most lauded writ­ers for screens big and small. Sut­ter had his break on TV crime show The Shield, be­fore cre­at­ing Sons of An­ar­chy. De­spite never re­ceiv­ing an Emmy nod, the bru­tal bikie drama built a loyal fan­base – 6.5 mil­lion tuned in to last year’s fnale. Now, he’s penned the script for up­com­ing box­ing flick Southpaw, star­ring Jake Gyl­len­haal and di­rected by An­toine Fuqua [2014’s The Equal­izer]. We caught up with La-based Sut­ter to ex­plore the lessons learnt along the way.

LIVE A LIT­TLE

“Com­ing into it late, I had so many rein­ven­tions and ca­reers that I didn’t care about suc­cess,” says Sut­ter. “I was just happy to do some­thing I loved. It al­lowed me to take risks, and I had a cer­tain level of life ex­pe­ri­ence that fed me cre­atively.”

WORK WITH PEO­PLE YOU TRUST

“Southpaw could have been much more frus­trat­ing if I hadn’t worked with peo­ple like An­toine and Jake. They were ex­tremely col­lab­o­ra­tive and had a deep pas­sion for the pro­ject, so I knew changes were be­ing made for the right rea­sons. The best thing for a writer is you make some­thing that’s a fve or six on the page, and by the time the ac­tor and di­rec­tor are done with it, it’s a nine or 10 on screen. That was defnitely the case with this pro­ject.”

LEARN TO MOVE ON

“I didn’t take any down­time af­ter Sons. I’m hav­ing lunch with Char­lie [Hun­nam] soon – we emailed each other be­cause we re­alised this would be the time of year when we’d sit down and talk about the char­ac­ter arcs for [Hun­nam’s char­ac­ter] Jax for the next sea­son. It’s fnally hit both of us that we’re not do­ing it any­more, but I’d love to work with Char­lie again.”

START WRIT­ING

“The best ad­vice I ever got is that writ­ers write. Just be­cause you have a screen­play in the back of your car, doesn’t mean you’re a writer. You have to keep writ­ing, and the truth is that if you’re good, it doesn’t mat­ter who the fuck you are. It’s one of those rare things where it re­ally is about what you pro­duce – it hap­pens all the time, where you’ll see some un­known writer who has a great script and sud­denly it’s be­ing pro­duced.”

FIND A ROU­TINE

“I’ll get up be­tween seven and nine and write for a cou­ple of hours – I tend to re-write stuff in the morn­ing. Af­ter that, I’m in meet­ings, in the writ­ers’ room, or edit­ing. Then I’ll come home and do two to four hours at night. That’s when I tend to write a frst draft be­cause I’m bet­ter when a lit­tle tired. It’s usu­ally those two chunks of time, and it can be any­where from two hours to eight hours depend­ing how far be­hind I am. I sleep fve to six hours a night, if I’m lucky.”

PICK YOUR BAT­TLES

“I’ve said the wrong thing many times and got­ten some blow­back for it. But if I do have an opin­ion, I make sure it’s some­thing I re­ally care about be­cause if you start just mak­ing noise, no one lis­tens.”

FUCK THE AWARDS

“On Sons, we in­creased view­ers for seven con­sec­u­tive sea­sons, and that sug­gests peo­ple aren’t just stick­ing around be­cause of Char­lie’s ass or be­cause we’re blow­ing shit up. I haven’t been ac­knowl­edged, but I wish some of my cast had. When I see the per­for­mance Char­lie did in the last sea­son, I know the qual­ity of his work and it was stronger than any­thing else be­ing done. But only one per­son cares less about the Em­mys than me, and that’s Char­lie. He’ll be OK.”

JAKE GYL­LEN­HAAL GAINED 7kg OF MUS­CLE IN SIX MONTHS FOR HIS ROLE IN SOUTHPAW THANKS TO SOME SES­SIONS AT FLOYD MAY­WEATHER’S LAS VE­GAS GYM. SOUTHPAW IS IN CINE­MAS AU­GUST 20

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