‘World Trade Center,’ Andrea Berloff

Original screenplay contender


STORYLINE: The rescue of Port Authority Police officers John McLoughlin and Will Jimeno, who responded to the fires at the Twin Towers on 9/11 and were trapped when the South Tower collapsed. Pair were among the few survivors pulled alive from “the pile.”

ABOUT THE SCRIPT: “This was the most difficult thing I’ve done outside of giving birth,” Berloff says. “It became about so much more than the writing. It became about relationships, and how do you be an honorable person and do this sort of work? That is so much above and beyond the call of a screenwriter.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “After interviewing the families, I really started feeling like, ‘Who am I to write a 9/11 movie? How has the path I’ve been on in life led me to be the one who’s going to write this movie?’ It just seemed preposterous. I was truly overwhelmed by both the personal responsibility I had to the families and the responsibility to the world at large about what kind of movie do we need about 9/11.”

BREAKTHROUGH IDEA: “I had to figure out for myself at the beginning that I was not telling the 9/11 story, but … the story of the McLoughlin and Jimeno families, and as long as I was true to their version of what happened that day, I couldn’t go wrong. ”

CHOICE LINES: Jimeno to McLoughlin, after having a vision during their ordeal: “Sarge, I just saw Jesus. And he handed me a bottle of water.”