18 What’s Different?…from “Female Creatives & A Star Is Born” [Video
So what’s different in this one? In a nutshell right? We’re going to go back to — she’s ambitious but she’s a rock star. He’s a rock idol. We’re still he’s jealous. It’s hard not to be jealous. We’re going to add the component that they write a song together. That is one of the sexiest things you can watch human beings do. Come up with love words that you put to music and sing to each other and then kiss in the middle of singing. It’s friggin gorgeous. It’s a sex scene without everybody getting naked right and this is what we can do in 1976. It stimulates sex. We’re not going to the Academy Awards. We’re going to the Grammy Awards because that’s what we do in rock and roll. We’re still going to keep the line — so Dorothy Parker is still giving us …”one more look at you.” This is a huge deal. This time it was decided that it was — I don’t like the word cowardly — but it was weak to walk off into the ocean. It was far cooler and more dude-like, more testosterone-driven, to for him to get into this brilliantly beautiful expensive car and crash up and it’s just a deeply sad scene, and then, of course, she gets called and she comes to the site and she’s actually touching the dead body, right? She’s like don’t want to leave him and her manager has to pull her off of him and all that stuff. So we’ve changed a few things but we’ve not changed the trajectory of the story and again that’s what an arbitrator would look at right? An arbitrator would say, no the plot points are still. There the decoration is what has changed. So pretty big deal.
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Connections at conferences matter! Through the most recent SCMS, I met Vicki Callahan, whose film history focus right now is on Mabel Normand. When she learned I could put together a lecture on the importance of the female voice in the A Star is Born franchise she asked me to give that lecture to her master students.
It made for a great opportunity for me to hone the ideas I’m working on for a chapter on that franchise that I’m writing for a new book from Bloomsbury: The Bloomsbury Handbook Of International Screenplay Theory. It’s always nice when one piece of research can be purposed in other ways – and it’s always fun revisiting such a female-centric film franchise – one that drew the talents of such powerful performers as Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand, and Lady Gaga.