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Vets cast dubious eye on rewriting

Eric Roth, David Hare wary of lucrative practice

Between high-profile adaptations, veteran scribes are offered all manner of script doctoring and rewrite gigs, though dwelling too long in that (admittedly) lucrative realm comes at a cost.

“I’ve done much less than some and more than I should have,” admits Eric Roth (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”).

“If you do too many of them, I think it does dull your skills. Writers become interchangeable; it’s like, ‘We’ll get A-list guy No. 2 to rewrite A-list guy No. 1.’ You get a little too comfortable … and in a way it’s like scavenging other people’s work.”

David Hare approvingly quotes Elaine May’s rationale for giving up the trade: ” ‘When a producer said, “Why don’t you see it from Hitler’s point of view?” and I agreed.’ She’d been asked every possible question and agreed; she’d lost perspective and compassion.”

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