Writers bloc talks

Fellowes needs a year to work on 'Gosford' while others needed 6

HOLLYWOOD — And the winner is … Julian Fellowes for only needing a year from starting work on “Gosford Park” to seeing it go into production.

Fellowes stunned an audience of 400 scribes gathered Thursday night to hear 11 of the nominated writers for Writers Guild and Academy Awards as part of the WGA’s “Beyond Words: The Writers Talk” program. Moderator Curtis Hansen had asked each panel member how long it had taken to go from working on the script to production, with three years being the average response.

Fellowes said he received the first phone call about “Gosford Park” in early 2000 with shooting starting in March 2001. “It was a fast one,” he admitted, adding that director Robert Altman had kept him on the set for every day of the four-month shoot in order to accurately capture life in 1932 England.

“Robert Altman really empowered me,” Fellowes said. “He believed that if the details were correct, the picture would work.”

Winners for longest period from start to production were a pair of significantly different projects: Philippa Boyens for “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” and Milo Addica and Will Rokos for “Monster’s Ball.” Both films needed six years.

“It was hell,” Addica said to large laughs. “It sucked.”

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