The Variety screening of “Changeling” packed out the ArcLight Cinema on Wednesday night. Eschewing the traditional Q&A session, scribe J. Michael Straczynski engaged the audience by offering a glimpse into his life and the history behind his first feature film.
“I worked for television for twenty years,” Straczynski said. “When you find your first feature’s going to be produced by Ron Howard, directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Angelina Jolie and John Malkovich, and they’re shooting the first draft — just shoot yourself in the head. It won’t get any better than that.”
Straczynski, a former reporter, said he stumbled upon the story that would become “Changeling” when one of his sources at City Hall made him aware of the case.
“Ninety-five percent of what you see here is taken verbatim from transcripts and testimonies and courtroom records,” he said. “It’s so incredible at times, to fictionalize any part of it would call the whole thing into question. I had to be rigorous in telling the story.”
Straczynski said he spent a year with the 6,000-page document that chronicled the accounts that make up the pic, but it took just 11 days to pen the script.
Although he intends to write more features, Straczynski says he has no plans to leave his television career.
“I’ve woken up in someone else’s life,” he said. “That’s the only way I can explain it.”