Screenwriter: Steven Zaillian

Distrib/release date: Universal/Oct. 19

Storyline: Parallel lives are explored through the pursuit of family-oriented but deadly Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) by flawed but incorruptible New Jersey cop Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe).

About the script: “It’s really a story about American business, family and race,” says Zaillian, who was inspired by a New York Magazine article by Mark Jacobson. “It would essentially be the same story if Frank sold real estate instead of heroin. Only everyone carries guns.”

Biggest challenge: “Managing a story whose two main characters not only don’t meet until the end, but aren’t even aware of each other for more than half of it.”

Breakthrough idea: “The chinchilla coat. That Frank is undone not by corrupt cops or rival gangsters or arrogance, but by wanting to please his wife. Undone by love.”

Choice line: “Your success is who took a shot at you. How are you going to kill it? By being unsuccessful? You can be successful and have enemies, or unsuccessful and have friends. It’s the choice we make.”

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0