10 Screenwriters to Watch 2012: Rajiv Joseph & Scott Rothman

Joseph was a Pulitzer finalist for Broadway’s “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” while Rothman crafted screenplays like “Fratboy.” (“Not,” he clarifies, “a finalist for the Pulitzer.”)

They “mainly got together to watch football and drink,” Joseph says, until a non-football fan- poet confessed to him a fondness for the NFL draft. Her reason?

“She said, ‘I dunno. High stakes and a ticking clock?’ And I was like, OK, that’s the basis of drama.”

Discussed for a year and written, Rothman says, “in a week,” “Draft Day” was snapped up by Ivan Reitman and Montecito Pictures, with Kevin Costner attached as an untested Buffalo Bills g.m. assessing his knotty personnel choices, fraught with question marks.

Premise smacks of “Moneyball,” which Rothman says they admire hugely, especially its success at “dramatized math.” But he avers their pic is less about stats than “trying to figure out how, or if, you can determine a person’s character … what makes them tick.”

“Draft Day” went into turnaround as Reitman geared up for a “Ghostbusters” sequel. While it’s being shopped around, he has them rewriting what Joseph calls “a family comedy about rock ‘n’ roll and second chances.” Rothman’s penning something solo, and Joseph’s book and co-lyrics for a “Peter Pan” musical will debut in Dallas next summer.

Rothman says they’re “super-excited to keep doing our own thing, me writing comedies, Rajiv winning international drama awards …. But we really loved writing together and look forward to keep on doing that.”

Reps: Rothman’s at CAA, Joseph at Gersh. They share management from Kaplan/Perrone.

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