Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Screenwriter: Kelly Masterson

Distrib/Release Date: Think Films/Oct. 26 (limited release)

Storyline: Two brothers — drug-addled embezzler Andy and wimpy, slow-witted Hank — plan a robbery of their parents’ jewelry store, with disastrous results.

About the script: “It was optioned within a month of writing it and then got bounced around for a couple of years. I worked at a bank for 17 years and got a call from my lawyer that Sidney (Lumet) had it. That hit me like a bolt of lightning. I quit as soon as that money hit the bank.”

Biggest challenge: “I had to love these characters so I could understand them. I had to guide them along the path of doom that they take, but I’m not a real dark writer and it was a challenge to take them to the places where they go.”

Breakthrough idea: “Once these characters are set in motion, they can’t get out of their patterns of behavior. I gave them obsessive-compulsive behaviors, like a cocaine habit, and even though they know what they’re doing is dead wrong, they can’t break those patterns.”

Choice line: Andy to Hank: “How can you fix this so your shit doesn’t get on my shoes?”

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