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"Scott Rosenberg: Off to a Beautiful Start"
By Peter Alexander


With the screenplays of Things to Do In Denver When You're Dead and Beautiful Girls under his belt, as well as the soon to be published book Going to California, Scott Rosenburg seems destined for immediate stardom. It wasn't always that way. "I always wrote short stories and stuff like that," said Rosenburg. "After college, a buddy of mine was coming out to L.A., so I accompanied him thinking I was going to be here for a little while. When you write and live in L.A., eventually you write screenplays. So I just started writing, got my first agent and sold a couple of things that never were made. Then my father got sick with cancer and died. I wanted to cope with it so I wrote Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead. I wanted to deal with the death of my father, but not in a conventional, made-for-TV movie way, so I said it in a setting, in a post-Tarantino kind of way."

Things To Do In Denver… yielded Scott Rosenberg a devoted following, and a two-movie deal with Disney. One is Con Air and stars Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, and John Malkovich. The other was conceived while Scott was in Boston waiting to hear whether Disney would utilize his first script or not. "It was the worst winter ever in this small hometown Snow plows were coming by, and I was just tired of writing these movies with people getting shot and killed. So I said, 'There is more action going on in my hometown with my friends dealing with the fact that they can't deal with turning 30 or with commitment'--all that became Beautiful Girls."

Beautiful Girls is a film that explores men's perceptions of and feelings towards women. With this in mind, Rosenberg told us how close his original script and the final results really were: "Maybe a scene here and there that I wanted to keep in was cut out, but overall it is very close. I was allowed on the set from conception to end. I had worked with the producer and the studio before in Things To Do In Denver…, so I had relationships with all of them. I also got along with the director, Ted Demme, who was like one of the guys in the movie: he comes from a working-class background, is 30 years old, and is this big, lovable beer-drinking fellow. Ted was just perfect for the movie."

Any one of Beautiful Girls' subplots could easily have been the central plot of its own film. Crucial insights into the development of the plots were provided by Rosenberg's own environment. "It's pretty autobiographical, me being the Hutton character. I just swapped the piano for the computer. Beautiful Girls is loosely based on my friends living back in Boston; this is their life, this is what they do."

The authentic show-stopper was the Israeli-born Natalie Portman Natalie is perhaps best known for her role in Luc Besson's The Professional opposite Gary Oldman and Jean Reno, or as Al Pacino's daughter in Heat. The young actress portrays 13-year-old Marty in Beautiful Girls. "We always said that if we couldn't find the right little girl then there was no point in making the movie," said an enthusiastic Rosenberg. "We were fortunate that Natalie just happened to be 13 at the time we were making this movie, and almost the only one in the world who could play the part. She was almost like an alien who crash-landed a ship onto this small town and then moved on."

A motion picture that includes 13 principals, among them Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, Academy Award-winner Mira Sorvino, Rosie O'Donnell, and Michael Rapaport, could have created friction on the set, particularly in the form of ego clashes. "The actors got along just as they do in the movie," said Rosenberg. "We were on location two weeks prior to shooting because you had to believe that these people grew up together. So we hung out, ate, drank beer, and spent time together."

Scott Rosenberg has met the Cryptkeeper and written two Tales from the Crypt episodes ("Forever Ambergris" and "Seance"). Among his upcoming projects is a motion picture to be named Hi Fidelity, and, of course, Con Air, due in theaters this summer. - PA

Article from "The Best Video Guide," at www.tbvg.com



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